Helldivers Diary A Generation Zero Story


#21

Day 27

I woke up. The others were already gone. I looked in the canteen. Both sat at the table. I wished good morning, took something to eat and poured me coffee. Both sat at the table with their heads hanging and looked over at me stealthily. The atmosphere was tense again.

"Are you back in the Stockroom today?" asked Amelie.

"Yes," I replied succinctly.

"What are you doing there?" she asked.

"Take what’s there. I answered again narrowly.

“Can’t we try the sports field again?” asked Amelie.

I got up and walked wordlessly. They were absolutely plemmplemm, I wouldn’t take any more action with the two of them, that was just too dangerous for me.

I continued to take up on the stockroom. They left me alone, obviously they understood that I didn’t want any more. The thought of going on alone took shape and seemed to me to become more and more plausible. What they would do if I had set out was their thing.

Secretly, however, I hoped that they would do something to show me that they were working on themselves.

In the afternoon I took my backpack. I put all the stuff out and took stock. The two took this suspiciously, but nobody dared to speak to me about it. I thought they get familiar with the idea that I was going to leave. After dinner I went to take a shower again, this time I sat down in the common room. I had found several radios in the camp. They all had a cassette part. I picked a cassette with QUEEN and some other pop bands. I turned on the radio and didn’t make it too loud.

Maybe the other two didn’t like my taste in music.

"Eiiij make it louder," Thort said. "horny Music, Queen"

"I also like Queen," said Amelie

She had sat down on the couch, put her legs on and put her head on her knees. She looked over at me. I sat bent over, my elbows supported on my thighs and my head in my hands. I listened silently to the music, smoked my cigarette and drank beer.

After a while, Thort got up and said

“I’m going to bed, I’m too loud here.”

Of course, he meant it ironically, because he was probably fed up with no one saying a word. Amelie stayed seated and fixed me.

Freddie Mercury was breathing “You take my breath away.” I lit another cigarette and emptied my beer can. Amelie stood up. I could see that she wasn’t going right to the bedroom, no she turned left. A short time later, she returned with two beer cans in her hand. She knelt next to me on the couch and held a can,

I said Thank you."

I opened it and took a sip. I pulled out my cigarette packet and offered Amelie one as well. She took them and set them on fire herself. I smoked in silence. Then she suddenly blew my hair and gently arranged the strands with her fine fingers. I looked around at her.

"What about you Helldiver?" she asked me. She breathed it more.

She looked me in the eye.

"Do you love anyone, a girl."

I shook my head "No," I replied, and I wanted to turn away.

Freddie Mercury breathed his „Love of my live“

"You only hear such a music when you have love grief." Said she and looked at me compassionately as if she wanted to comfort me.

“I don’t have a love grief, I just like the music.”

"Have you ever had a girlfriend?"

'Not really, I wasn’t interested in it. If you live where I live, you don’t have much opportunity. “Maybe after my studies. Maybe I’ll go on a search.”

“I’ve had a boyfriend before, but nothing fixed,” she said.

"My Maman always wants to bring me together with some FiFis. All rich sons who drive fat cars live off their parents’ money and spread like a peacock. I don’t like them. Thort is actually a very dear one. He’s not very intelligent but he’s a good guy. He’s like a brother you know. Even though if he constantly bickers me. We did that as children.

I like you. Even if you’ve been swearing with me a lot lately. You are special. You’re so closed, so focused, you know what you’re talking about. You have a plan. You give security. Women like that." Said she was smiling.

Should that be a turn on now, so trallala, Twitter, Twitter. I thought. But as she said it and looked at me, she told me that she was serious about what was said.

"Don’t you like me?" she asked

"No, it has nothing to do with you or your person. It’s the shit situation we’re in. I cannot take responsibility for putting you in danger.

"I would like to see in your thoughts," she breathed back into me.

She was a little closer to me and played with one of my strands of hair. She did this very gently.

"You like to be alone?" she asked her gaze was strangely warm

"Yes, even my father has said that many times enough. He thinks I should go among people more often."

"You are a loup solitaire (French: lone wolf).

I looked at her questioningly.

"Ahh, this is a lone wolf"

"Maybe I am."

"Loup solitaire" she breathed again it went through and through me.

"A very dear person is hiding under the wolf fur, I would like to get to know him," she said softly.

Her French timbre went through and through again.

On the radio, Brian Ferry sang "Jealous Guy" She took the cigarette out of my hand, jumped off the couch and pulled me up.

"Come on, dancing. I love Roxy Music"

I reluctantly let myself be dragged into the middle of the room. I put my arm around her hip, took her left hand slightly in mine and wanted to keep the courtesy distance. She looked at me questioningly and expectantly, then she snuggled closer to me putting her left hand on my shoulder and her head on my chest. She looked at me, from her soft body and her eyes a strange warmth emanating through me. This feeling was completely new to me, this closeness. She smiled happily and kept looking at me.

For a moment, something like normality set in. If this moment had been in a more peaceful place in another time, I think I would have given it everything.

She was easy to guide like a feather. We danced as if we had always done that. When the song was over then came "Oh Yeah" by Roxy Music.

“Please keep dancing, that’s so beautiful,” she breathed tenderly, gently caressed my face with the fingers of her left hand.

I felt like I was struck by lightning. She was right, it was nice to hold this delicate girl in my arms and gently weigh myself with her in the dance. I pulled her a little tighter. She acknowledged this with a happy smile and a gentle look of her almost black eyes. Her mouth was slightly open. As if it was an invitation to kiss her. I didn’t dare. I didn’t want to destroy that moment. When the music was over, she stayed in my arm for a moment, then she breathed a kiss on my cheek.

"Come we go to sleep, she said," and pulled me after.

Hand in hand we went to the bedroom. When she arrived at her bedside she gently touched my face again and kissed me again on the cheek

"Good night," she said.

Then we went to our beds. I was awake for a long


#22

Day 28

When I woke up the next morning, the others were already up. Amelie appeared in the doorway.

"Are you going to have breakfast?"

"Yes, immediately," I said yawning

I quickly clothed over and went to the canteen. It smelled somehow different than usual. She went springing in front of me and said

"I made Quiche Lorraine, thanks to your stock list I found dry egg powder and milk powder. Onions and bacon were still in the pantry."

Thort sat at the table and laughed kindly. He got up and poured me coffee, while Amelie put a piece of the deliciously fragrant quiche on my plate. Somehow I didn’t get rid of the feeling that they were having something in front of them.

“Why do I feel like there’s some conspiracy going on here,” I said.

"We want to tell you something," Thort said

"or rather what show it. Amelie show it to him" Amelie smiled.

Then she jumped on pulled her Klaucke, loaded her through unsecured her and shot into a corner of the room. There stood a wooden box, on which a runner was painted with chalk. She had fired and hit him twice. The shots were on the runner’s tank. She had done it at a feline speed that I would never have trusted her to do. I was surprised. Then she unloaded the weapon as safely as if she had never done anything else.

"Well, dude did she not make it great.

" Said Thort with a laugh. " I’ve pulled her pants tighten"

“Don’t you,” Amelie replied cheekily.

“I’ve got it though.”

"You never get to my butt," she snapped back.

Thort cut her a grimace, she stretched out her tongue.

"Enough now," I said, banging my flat hand on the table.

"Give me your weapon Amelie."

She looked at me in amazement and pushed her weapon over the table. I took the magazine out, unloaded the gun, squeezed five cartridges from the magazine and put the things back on the table. Then I set my stopwatch to zero and said to her

"Ammunition, loading, unlock and fire. Thirty seconds. From now on."

She took the magazine and the cartridges and put them into the magazine one by one. She was very nimble, then she pushed the magazine into the gun, loaded through, unlocked and shot twice back at the box. In that time, 22 seconds had passed. I was impressed. Thort laughed

"Well dude, what do you say, was that not great, our Amelie?"

I noticed that he no longer called her "goat".

“I’m impressed,” I said.

"We practiced a lot. Amelie has made a real effort and look."

"Amelie, just the gun as if you want to aim."

Amelie, smiling, took up the gun and aimed it into the room. She kept her quiet, without trembling. I nodded appreciatively.

"All respect," I said.

"I did strength training with her and aim and load and practice do with her all the stuff and she really make efforts."

"I see that." Amelie looked at me imploringly

"Would you try again with us Helldiver, please, please."

Just as she said it and how she looked at me melted down, my resistance like a piece of butter in the hot frying pan, she really had it on it.

“Then I would say, let’s not let this delicious quiche get cold, then make clear ship and then we see each other in the training room.”

"YYYYEEEEEEEEEAAAAAA!" a joint outcry rang out from the two.

Amelie came running around the table hugging me from behind and squeezing a kiss on my cheek. "Merci, merci, merci" (French thank you) she said with a laugh.

"Well thanks to Thort, he practiced with you," I said.

She ran over to Thort, hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. He was visibly moved.

After we had eat the exquisite quiche Lorraine and finished with breakfast, I asked Thort to bring all the weapons and my backpack into the classroom. Amelie asked me if she could speak to me. I cleaned the dishes with her and started rinsing it. Amelie took a towel to dry.

"Helldiver, um, did you really want to leave without us? Move on alone?" she asked me, looking at me inquiringly.

"Frankly, I had been thinking about it very intensively over the last few days. I had considered this possibility. But it would have been unfair to Thort. I would have asked him to stay with you. But I had also quietly hoped that you would get together."

Amelie opened her mouth

"Aaaah, you expected something like this to happen today," she said, stunned and incredulous.

'I wasn’t expecting it, but I was hoping for it. I thought after the ass kick I had missed you that I would rip you and especially you together. I was hoping for group pressure."

She couldn’t get her pretty mouth in amazement. She laughed and slapped me slightly with the towel

"Ohhhh, you Filou (French: crooks). You made us simmer.

"Hmmmm," I said, smiling. "I would not have left you alone without making you understand the consequences it would have had for you. I would have tried before. She laughed and slapped me again with the towel

“You’re a Filou, but a dear one.”

She looked at me laughing. Then she said

“Thort was very disappointed when you told him that you didn’t want to train with us anymore. He was very afraid that you would go on alone. Until yesterday, it really looked like that. He was very scolding me the day before yesterday. I can see what you said, you were right in everything.”

“That’s good that you see that I can’t take anyone on a mission who isn’t able to defend themselves. When we go out there, death lurks behind every corner, in every bush. I would not have wanted to take on this responsibility. I don’t want to put anyone in deadly danger. It would always have been a risk without the knowledge and skills. I just scolded you to make you realize how important it is to do or be able to do certain things.”

She nodded and approached me.

“I wasn’t wrong,” she said, looking me in the eye.

“I have always felt that there is a lovely person under the shaggy wolf fur. You gave me a tiny look under this wolf fur yesterday and That’s when I saw this man.”

She raised her hand and stroked me over the cheek

“Don’t always be such a lone wolf”

She stood close in front of me and looked at me with a sweet smile. She stood on the tip of her toes and kissed me tenderly on the cheek. Then she gently stroked her hand over it again. I was petrified and couldn’t say anything I was just too surprised. She took the plate out of my hand smiling and went to the cupboard. Then she looked over her shoulder again. Her eyes glowed like stars.

We went over to the training room. I started again where I left off a few days ago. I explained again the course of the battle and the mistakes we had made without attacking anyone in person. I worked together from the insights we had gained with the two of them to develop a new strategy. We wanted to attack soon in a V-formation, where Amelie was to form our second line. Thort and I would proceed and Amelie should first snipe away the runners from the background and we would then attack head-on and protect Amelie if necessary.

In the afternoon I held another shooting training. I wanted to take a closer look at Amelie’s shooting skills. She mastered the exercises I imposed on her with flying colors. She shot very accurately. I had made a practice goal out of a destroyed tick and a little string, i surprisingly lit it with the flashlight and pulled it with the cord. Amelie screamed briefly, shot at the target and hit it.

Her face glowed and she beamed properly as I praised her. In the late afternoon Amelie went into the shower and I went with Thort into the power room. I thought I could tolerate a little training and Thort would be the right coach. He really lived up when he put me together a workout, we trained until the sweat ran down. Thort had a very muscular body and a huge biceps. I had a six-pack of belly but my arms weren’t as strong.

"Say Thort, what have you done with Amelie in the last few days?" I asked him during a training break.

“I almost bitten my teeth on her to teach her how to shoot with a pistol. It took you two days and she can do it suddenly, there’s something rotten?”

Thort laughed a little and said

Yes, she’s a little stubborn head, and she’s selfishly eating what she doesn’t want, she doesn’t want that. She was reluctant because she thought she could persuade you to stay here. Actually, she’s used to the guys eating out of her hand. That’s what you should see at the disco in Östervik. If she makes herself chic then she is yes a real shot. She let the boys bead off her in turn, a really arrogant goat.

Well, with you that’s something else. She was scared of you when you started shouting at her after the shooting accident. That was quite cheeky what she gave of itself. I think I would have her clapped one right now but, well, we don’t do that. When you didn’t come to dinner she was crestfallen and was scared to get under your eyes again, but I told her that she had to talk to you. She had already had a huge scare because you were so upset and because she had so much beatings as a child.

I was once with her in the night to the disco in Östervik. Her old woman noticed something and she got bad beatings. The mother of her is a dragon, a true Satan. Has always beaten the little one, only when she has opened her mouth. She shouldn’t be roaming with simple guys. Was not befitting.

Well, but when you went to the sea with her and realized that there was something wrong with her and how you listened to her and that with the eye level what you had to say to her. She thought that was great and also the practice pointed with the confidence, that was already crazy, she really raved about you. She never does. I haven’t experienced it and I’ve known her for a long time. Yeah, how you just break of the lessons and you dodged us for days. And you had said that you didn’t want to train us anymore.

That’s when she’s become thoughtful. She told me what you had told her with the resistance and so. Know I want to go with you and also find my people and, if you’re doing resistance with maybe some few guys there I want to be there and fight with you. She probably noticed that she messed up two people the tour Yes and when you just got up from the breakfast table and went off, she was very crestfallen. There she has become to do with the fear. she has practiced like crazy. That’s what she done before. She begged me to do some strength training with her.

"I don’t believe it," I said, shaking my head.

“Then the group pressure worked, I wouldn’t have thought,” I said.

"Did you expect her to think about it?"

"No, hoped, but could have gone wrong."

Amelie had prepared a delicious dinner in the kitchen and when we finished she said mischievously smiling.

“I’ve got another surprise for you.”

She went into the kitchen smiling and came back with a tray. She had prepared a portion of strawberries with whipped cream for all of us. We applauded.

"I found it through Helldiver’s stock list and also the whipped cream. Otherwise, I would never have known that there would be long-lasting cream in stock. There was a happy and relaxed atmosphere although we were still facing a tough task.


#23

Day 29

We went through everything again after breakfast. We cleaned our weapons. I distributed ammunition and had the combat luggage put together. I went with them to the house by the sea and we sat down on the balcony in the sun, drank a can of beer that I had for everyone in my luggage. We enjoyed the light and the air.

Day 30

We got ready. Today we wanted to make a second attempt and storm the barracks at the sports field again.

At the bunker door we took up position and moved away. Everything went smoothly to the house, which we had already taken as a base. We spied the sports field. A Hunter had joined in. We agreed that Thort and I would destroy the Hunter. Amelie was to take the runners under fire from the second row.

After we had destroyed the Hunter, we would also take care of the runners. We went into position and started. Thort and I shot the Hunter. He exploded before he even realized what was going on. We unleashed one inferno on the sports field and one runner after another exploded. Some of them went to Amelie’s account. As we advanced on to the barracks, she walked behind me in a staggered manner and fired stubbornly. When I heard her loading her Klaucke behind me, I turned around briefly and she smiled at me.

I even saw her flip the safety lever on the gun. Then we kept fighting. A second wave with six runners came across the sports field. I turned to Amelie and told her to go to the barracks, open her and take anything that might be important.

Thort and I fought the runners. Thort fired with the shotgun and I with my G3. A short time later we stood between the smoking debris of the robots. We examined the sports field, we found a map and recordings of a radio operator. I found a lot of ammunition. A Klauke pistol and another Automatgevär 4. I ammunitioned it, took a test shot with it and passed it on to Thort. I briefly explained to him how the gun works and gave him some more magazines to change and put the steel magazine in his pocket.

I even took the time with him to practice changing the magazine and loading it. Thort understood very quickly and was happy about the new weapon. We looted the robots, then we set off on our way back. Amelie sniped some runners and a Hunter also put on a whimsical dance in front of our rifle mouths.

Thort had a lot of fun. Amelie also screamed after every hit when she destroyed a runner, according to "YEEEEEEEAAAAA!!!." She had licked blood. We walked through the town like a fire roller. Nothing could stop us.

When we got back to the bunker unscathed, we clapped together. Thort exclaimed enthusiastically, "We showed them the tin cans we kicked. After dinner we sat in the common room. We decimated the bunker’s beer stocks and celebrated wildly. The walls of the Salthamm bunker trembled with the rhythms of Nirvana, AC / DC and Deep Purple.

Day 31

We all woke up a little bit scathing. Take our breakfast. Then I asked everyone back in the classroom. I explained once again the fight on the sports field not without explicitly praising Amelie. She beamed again and laughed happily. Then we sat down and examined the map we found and the radio operator’s notes.

From them it became clear that the people were all evacuated to the Vesslan bunker. In the military map, the location of the bunker was clearly marked. We planned our route there. I made the proposal as a stage goal to choose the farm Seggesta. Stay there one night and then leave for the Vesslan Bunker the next day.

Thort said, "Seggesta is the farm where Ronja lives."

"Do you mean Ronja Sandström?" I asked. "About as big as Amelie, just long, curly red hair?"

"Yes! exactly the little Sandström. How do you know her Helldiver?"

"She was my dance partner at the dance school but it was three or four years ago."

"I know her from the roofing. I repaired the roof for them. Are poor swallowers. She’s a pretty thing. Got pregnant from the mainland by some guy. Then he ran away and let her sit. Well, I then repaired the roof for little money and gave her something for the little one.

I’ve already taken them to Östervik you know, so for shopping. Well, and then I went out with her so that she also had a little fun. It’s just a poor girl. "

"I hope they could all be evacuated." I said.

We decided to stay in the bunker for another day. Clean up, prepare our luggage and then march away.

I then asked everyone again to go to the shooting range to teach Amelie in the use of the G3 and to do some shooting exercises with her. She should also get such a weapon if we found one more. She managed to load and cock the weapon on her own. When she was shooting, she complained about the gun’s recoil. I explained to her that this is related to the larger calibre. She would just need a little more practice. Her hit rate was quite good and she surprisingly also found the safety lever. We were still sitting in the communal room together cleaning our weapons, drinking beer and smoking.

Day 32

We prepared everything for our departure. We cleaned everything up, cleaned the kitchen and the communal room. Amelie pouted because she couldn’t take her sandals with her. I offered to put a note with her name on it and deposit it in the bunker’s clothing stock. We had to decide what to take with us and what not. I handed out a lot of ammunition because we didn’t know what we were going to do and when we were going to get supplies. My hopes were on the Vesslan bunker.

Day 33

We were ready, Amelie moaned a little, because the equipment was too heavy for her. But I made it clear to her that we couldn’t do without a part.

“You’re going to have to get used to it,” I told her.

We set off. I took over the top Amelie went behind me the final formed Thort. We pulled out our pistols and marched off. The sun just rose and the weather seemed to be getting good, there were only a few clouds in the sky. I stopped more often and searched the area. Occasionally we saw a few runners. We bypassed them, because I didn’t want to engage in a firefight in the open area if it wasn’t inevitable.

Around noon we saw the buildings of Seggesta in the distance. As we got closer, we couldn’t see any movement. But I saw that barricades were standing in front of the house. I had a queasy feeling. In a group of trees that offered us a little cover, we took a cigarette break. I explained to them that we had to approach the farm again, as in Salthamm. I suggested going long at the edge of the forest. We got as close as possible.

Then I told Amelie to run to a tractor and look for cover. Then I moved on. I peered around the tractor and scouted the area. There was nothing to see in the farm. Then I ran up to the barn and slipped in. Then I saw Thort advancing to Amelie. I carefully opened one of the doors and peered into the yard.

Then I waved at Amelie. Fast and quiet like a cat she came running. I continued to peer out the yard and saw a side entrance to the house. I quickly sprinted there. Thort advanced to the barn. I was still waiting for Amelie. Then I secured the entrance. Carefully I opened the door to the hallway, I had already heard the ticking, scurrying sound of a tick and could already see the ominous glow through the door gap.

I changed the G3 against the Klaucke, cocked it and hit the door jerky. Then I fired at the tick that was sitting in the hallway. I walked in cautiously. A second tick came out of a room quickly crawling I also did it. Then it seemed calm. Amelie came after me. She also had her Klaucke ready to fire. Thort had already arrived at the entrance.

Thort went upstairs to Amelie and I searched the lower rooms. In the hallway of the main entrance we found the body of a woman. It was badly prepared and shredded by heavy bullets, certainly the work of a Hunter. In the main entrance, which was barricaded, we found the body of a man. The shotgun still in the hand. Like the woman, he was badly wounded and pierced of great calibre. There were large dried-up pools of blood on the floor. The smell of the corpse was bad. I took the shotgun out of the man’s hand. It was a weapon just like “Old Bethan” a pump gun.

Suddenly we heard Thort screaming. ""Ohhhhh nooooooooo, Ohhh God, have mercy!" Amelie and I turned around on the heel and fell up the stairs. Thort knelt on the ground and cried. On the upper floor was a terrible smell of corpses that took our breath away. Amelie kept her forearm pressed in front of her nose and mouth. As I approached, I saw why Thort was crying.

Ronja was sitting on a couch, her right side of her head was ripped open, tissue fragments, fragments of bones and parts of the brain stuck to her face. The face had a sad expression, her broken eyes staring at the opposite wall. There was a bloody bundle on her lap. I struggled for my mastery myself. Carefully I went to her and closed her eyes. The way she looked, she had to be dead for a long time. I pressed the cloths of the bundle to the side with my hand and saw in it the little blood-smeared face of a child. The head was badly damaged by a shot. I also closed his little eyes to the child. It was a horrible, horrible sight.

Amelie was behind me and I told her

" Please don’t look, it’s too gruesome.

I took Ronja’s Colt caliber 44 out of her hand lying on the sofa. She must have shot her child first in sheer desperation. Like Thort, I would have liked to have started loudly. But I struggled desperately for my composure. I ran to the windows and ripped everyone open, because the smell was unspeakable. Then I took Thort and said we’d go down.

Downstairs, Thort cried loudly, “These criminals, these pigs, I’m killing them all, why, why, this little woman and the child hasn’t done anything to anyone, these dirty murderers.”

Amelie and I hugged Thort and tried to comfort him.

It was bad to see this big, strong man crying so much. Amelie also looked at me that I wasn’t doing well. We decided to bury the people. Next to the house was a flowerbed and the floor did not seem too stony. In the barn I found two spades and some shovels. I gave my G3 to Amelie and asked her to watch and report it to us immediately if she saw anything suspicious. Thort and I dug a large pit. Then we put straw in the pit and put the bodies of the woman and the man, obviously Ronja’s parents, on it.

Then we went upstairs. We wrapped Ronja in a blanket. Thort took her in her arms and carried her down the stairs in tears. I had the child on my arm. We put her between the parents and put the child in her arms. Amelie had taken the flowers from the flowerbed and placed them on the corpses. Next to the child, she laid a small bouquet of flowers.

Amelie sniffled a little at the sight of the little child’s corpse.

"Who does that?" she asked in a trembling voice.

I took Amelie in my arms and told her

‘These aren’t people, but I’m going to hold them accountable and if it’s the last thing I do in my life.’

We stood in a circle. I asked everyone

"Helm off to prayer please."

Then we prayed together for those killed. We stood in a circle around the open grave so that we could protect each other if the machines attacked us. Amelie said a prayer in French. It sounded very nice.

"Does anyone want to say anything else?" I asked. Everyone denied it.

“Then let’s close the tomb Thort.” He nodded.

We covered straw over the corpses and then poured the grave. When we finished it was already dawning. At the end I pressed the spade to the head end into the earth. Thort tied a branch to the spade and made an improvised cross.

We went into the house and locked the doors. The smell on the upper floor was quite gone. We had ripped open the windows all over the house and made a draft. We heated our food over the Esbit cookers. Luckily we had a few cans of beer in our luggage, they weren’t particularly cold, but better than nothing. On the upper floor was a bed in the adjoining room we let Amelie sleep in it. I was adjusting an armchair Thort slept on a couch.


#24

I’ve gone ahead and merged all topics about this story, in order, into the main topic and adjusted the title. While it’s appreciated that you’re creative and wish to tell a story, there’s no reason why it can’t be all in one neat topic instead of cluttering up the #community-content forum.

//Mod


#25

@Xezr

Hello Xezr
that is so great that you have done this, I unfortunately knew nothing else than to publish the episodes of the story in individual topics. The story is far from over and I will publish more parts. It is finished but in my language and I am currently translating it into English. It would be nice if you could help me to put this story into a topic or maybe you can tell me how I can do it myself.
I hope you like the story and I will entertain you a little bit.

Best regards


#26

Day 34

I slept restlessly and was happy as the morning dawned. I waited until the others woke up. I cooked coffee on an esbit cooker with my field ware. Amelie’s face was a little dislocated.

"Man is that coffee strong man, he wakes up the dead." Thort grinned thinly.

He was still grieving. I wasn’t doing well either, but I had to look forward, we had to go on to the Vesslan bunker. I spread the map again and showed our position. We had a march similar to yesterday and with a bit of luck we could be at the bunker around noon. I reckoned with a firefight and urged the other to be extra careful. If necessary, we would withdraw. When the sun rose, we moved away.

When we had left the grounds of the estate, we looked out the area. Above all, we were looking for robots that could lurk in us. We walked within a piece of forest. The bunker had to lie on a mountain that lay in front of us and was also forested. In order not to go over open field, I suggested to take the detour and go through the forest. We left, after a while we saw people running down the street.

They had some runners on their heels. They were dressed quite colorfully no wonder that they were discovered so quickly and even that they were running on the street was more than stupid. We ran into the high grass, ducked and took the runners under fire. Amelie was the first to open fire. An orange runner exploded immediately. The other three of them were also exploded.

We jumped up and waved to the people to come to us. A girl ran at the top of the group of four, pointed at us and ran towards us. They came up to us and I waved to them

"Run into the forest!" I cried.

The girl answered me in English I repeated my call again in English and they ran into the forest. We retreated and watched the area. Then we retreated to the group in the forest. They were all Asians, two boys and two girls. One stood out and introduced herself as Akiko Hyundura, introducing her boyfriend Yuri Honda, her cousin Mila and her boyfriend Haruko. She came from Japan and studied medicine in Stockholm. She was on a trip with the three they had come from Japan and were on Norra Saltholmen when the alarm came. They wanted to go to Södra Saltholmen to get away by boat. They wanted to go to Salthamm to the naval base, where their evacuation point was. They had been on the road for weeks, had been hiding in various villages and had also found food there.

I told them that we had been on the road for weeks but spent some of it in the Salthamm bunker. I showed them on the map where we came from and where we wanted to go. I offered to join them, but they refused. I warned them that they probably wouldn’t get into the naval base because they were unarmed.

Akiko thanked us with Asian courtesy and discussed with the others in Japanese. She thanked us again and said that the others wanted to go on alone. They wanted to try to get out of the country on their own. I briefly talked to the others and asked if we could give them the shotgun and a Klaucke pistol we found. Without armament, they didn’t have much chances. Amelie and Thort agreed. I gave Akiko the shotgun we found in Salthamm and the Klaucke gun.

I gave them ammunition for both weapons, as much as we could lack. Then I explained to the Japanese how to use the weapons. The boys didn’t understand me because they didn’t speak Swedish or English. Akiko translated and they thanked very much. We made them aware of the farm from where we had come and that there might still be food there. Then we moved on. We went to the robot wrecks to loot them.

We found chip cards in the robots. A barcode was engraved on them.

"Maybe we need them for the bunker," I said. We saw the Japanese still walking through the forest. They could be seen for miles through their clothes.

"Do you think they have a chance?" asked Thort.

'I don’t think so. I hope they understood me to some extent when I said they should not cross the street. If we hadn’t been here by chance, they might have been already dead, because against the Runners they wouldn’t have had a chance. At some point they would have run out of air and then Sayonara (jap. Bye)."

“I think you’re right,” Thort said. “Hopefully they get through.”

We went on and reached the foot of the mountain where the bunker was at early noon.

We stopped, smoked a cigarette, orientated ourselves and then set out on the ascent. I kept stopping to scout the area. We discovered a large entrance that looked like a tunnel. He led to a hangar. On the other side we saw a yard, in it stood a gatekeeper’s Barack. There was a big Gate behind it. We also saw a few runners patrolled. We retreated a little and looked for cover in a bush. I weighed up our chances. When we walked into the hangar, we didn’t know what was lurking there and where the front door was. The other gate was better in that we could entrench ourselves in the gatekeeper’s Barack and the terrain was clearer. We chose the gatekeeper’s Barack.

We sneaked close enough. Then I ran off and reached the gatekeeper’s house. Next came Amelie. A runner had come to her attention and ran after her. I immediately took him under fire. Amelie reacted correctly by walking on. I had told her that. A seeker sailed by and I brought him down from the sky. Then some runners appeared again. Thort and I took them under fire. I reloaded and ran to the bunker gate.

A laser beam scanned me off. Then I heard a buzz and a loud "clap," then the gate swung open. Amelie and I continued to take the runners under fire. Then Thort ran off and reached Amelie. On my sign, Amelie ran to me and I told her "go behind me." A Hunter came running into the yard at high speed. Thort and I took him under fire at the same time and he exploded. Thort shot another seeker. Then Thort also ran. We were complete again.

We went deeper into the bunker and closed the outside door. It was dark. We snapped our flashlights and reloaded our weapons. I told Amelie to stay behind me and sent Thort to the other side of the aisle.

"We have to go to the control center to turn on the light," I said.

Turning to Amelie, I asked, "Is your pistol ready to be fired?"

"Of course," she replied.

I looked around at her and saw that she was very tense and slightly shaking.

"Fear?" I asked, she nodded.

I unwrapped a chocolate bar and gave it to her. She smiled thinly and took him with trembling fingers.

“Calm down a little, stay behind me and don’t be afraid,” I whispered in her ear. “Please stop a metre away so that I can shoot and stop at the aisle bend. I’ll give you signs if you can round the corner.”

She nodded chewing.

"Ready?" I asked, "Thort?" I lit him up briefly and he nodded.

Then we walked the dark aisle. I once briefly lit up and saw a bend in front of us.

“I didn’t light up the wall, when there’s something lurking around the corner, they don’t see directly that who’s coming.”

The aisle turned left. Carefully I peered around the corner and saw two ticks lurking in the dark. I quickly jumped out and shot at them with my pistol. There were three ticks one came running out of a gloomy corner as I shot at the first two. Thort’s shotgun roared and the third tick flew into a thousand pieces.

"Hähä," Thort laughed.

I lit up the aisle. There were no other enemies to be seen. We heard the "barking" of a runner, probably lurking behind the next gang bend one. I reloaded my Klaucke. We went on. I looked around shortly after Amelie, who smiled a little tormented at me and fought down her fear. I smiled cheerfully at her. We went on, the aisle turned to the right. I took over the inside of the aisle and carefully peered around the bend. I saw the glow of a yellow lamp on the aisle floor. Surely a runner was lurking I switched to the G3 . I attacked him. I showed Thort with hand signals 3-2-1 and off.

We jumped into the aisle and fired. In front of us there were three runners in the aisle. Two of them exploded before they could even fire one shot. A third runner fired at us and we retreated in the aisle. Thort and I had to reload. We could see that the runner was getting closer. Bullets crashed into the aisle wall and the ricochets where flewing around our ears. We backed down.

We had reloaded and moved forward again. Shots crashed, then the runner exploded in a yellow embers. We looked carefully again and went on. We got to a crossroads. It was particularly dangerous because we could have opponents in our backs. Thort and I looked carefully around the corner. My end was a dead end some ticks lurking there. I shot her with the G3, Amelie bravely jumped to my side and also shot. There was a sign post on the wall. He pointed us the way to the energy center.

"Can a Hunter come here?" asked Amelie anxiously.

“No, it’s too big for that.” I heard her quick, bumpy breath. I backed up a little bit and put my arm around her shoulders.

"Shhh, calm down. Breathe slowly and evenly," I murmured to her.

She nodded

"Do you want another piece of chocolate?"

"If you have one more," she murmured.

I unwrapped it for her, she took it again with trembling fingers. I took her hand and pressed her. Amelie looked at me gratefully. We went on in the darkness. The sharp cones of light of our flashlights illuminated the aisle in front of us, which seemed to be very long. Side aisles branched off him. A signpost showed us the way to the team rooms. We looked carefully into it and then quickly ran past one by one.

The next course led to the Storeroom. Again, we looked carefully and crossed it. The ensuing led to the energy center. Carefully I looked around the corner and jumped into the aisle. I could see a steel door at the end. I took the Klaucke again, posted Amelie behind me and Thort a little further back to the other side of the aisle. I carefully opened the door and used it as a shield. Two ticks came out. Amelie shot one. Thort the next.

"You better open the next door on Amelie!" I said.

Amelie nodded with relief, but was also pleased that she had shot the tick.

I walked into the room with a drawn gun and secured it, the others followed. In the middle of the room was a spiral staircase, which led to a floor below. I lit up carefully and saw some sensors shining in ominous red light. Below were some ticks. I sharpened the others to be on guard when we went down. Slowly and carefully we walked down the stairs I had a tick that lurked on the ground. Amelie and Thort had also grasped a tick and destroyed it. We waited briefly, listened and then went on. From a corner came another tick that Thort destroyed with his shotgun. In general, the shotgun turned out to be extremely effective.

Then there was another steel door in front of us. I explained to Amelie how to proceed. Open the door and use it as a shield so that we could fire freely into the room. We went into position and on my hand sign Amelie opened the door. A runner was behind it and some ticks quickly came to crawl. I destroyed the runner with my G3 while Thort shot some ticks. A tick started a jump attack on me because I couldn’t shoot, because otherwise I would have hit Amelie.

I knocked him off my head and destroyed him with a shot from my G3. My helmet had protected me from the sharp blades of the tick. Backing up all sides, we entered the room. It was the control center.

I searched the control cabinets for the main switch. Next to a control panel on the generator was a large control cabinet with a lever-shaped switch on it. I turned it in the direction of the arrow and with a rich “CLACK” he snapped in. At the control panel’s generators, all the indicators jumped from red to green. I pressed the start button and behind us the generators jumped on. The dull rumbling of the diesel engines increased to a roar. Then I went off the control cabinet rows and found another switch on the stand “Lighting” I put it over and he too snapped with a rich “CLACK”.

The lights started flickering. Thort and Amelie laughed with relief. I noticed that Amelie in particular was relieved.

"Cigarette break," I said.

I pulled out a chocolate bar because I needed something sweet to relax. Amelie looked conspicuously smiling at the chocolate.

"Do you want to?" I asked. She nodded with a laugh.

"If you want this here, just unpacked it." I handed him to her and she took him

"Did you not take any of them?"

"Yes," she said, mumbling, "but yours tastes better."

I shook my head with a laugh and opened a new bar. The sweet cocoa had a calming effect on me. I went off the rows again with control cabinets. The ventilation was running.

"What are you looking for," Thort asked.

"According to a plan from the bunker, usually they hang somewhere on the wall or on the doors."

Eventually I found him on the front door. I took a notepad and drew it. The bunker had two floors and a room that was located in the low ground. That was the generator room.

"We have to search both floors if we want to be undisturbed here."

“Then we’ll show them the new house rules,” Thort said.

"Amelie what about you?" I asked.

“Because of me it can go on, now that it’s bright I feel safer.”

We started. Arriving in the aisle above, we first searched the team rooms, then we secured the canteen. We were also able to secure the shower room. Then we went through different storage rooms. We found the pantry and the weapons store. There were some rifles and boxes of ammunition. I sounded an appreciative whistle. Neatly lined up, besides some used Automatgevär 4 lay some Automatgevär 5 the successor weapon of the Automatgevär 4. The rifle was built by the Belgian manufacturer FNC under license from the Swedish company Saab.

"The right MG for girls," I said with a laugh, and immediately regretted it, because I got a hard rib kick from Amelie.

She was able to clench her petite hands into small, hard fists and thus hand out a knuff that took your breath away.

I chose one that was in good condition and gave it to her. She marveled at the low weight. I ammunitioned it with the 5.65 x 45 ammunition. Amelie took her and briefly seized the weapon. I showed her how to load her through and where the "safety lever" was. I explained to her the position of "single fire" and permanent fire". I found another Red Dot scope and mounted it on the picatinny rail-equipped weapon. I showed her how to deal with it. I put some throwaway magazines in her pocket. Then we went on. We secured the warroom in it were three runners.

Amelie opened the door, Thort and I shot the runners together. Amelie bravely jumped out behind the door and also fired at the runners. After the fight, she found the Automatgevär 5 to be just right for her, because she did not have as strong a recoil as the G3.

We went further and found out that we had secured the lower floor. We went upstairs. There were large storage rooms. We met some runners who we fought together. That Amelie now also had a stronger weapon was extremely helpful. In the hangar we got into a bigger firefight with three hunters. Thort and I shot their Arm MG’s away. Amelie’s weapon turned out to be extremely powerful, despite the smaller calibre. I had given her armor-piercing ammunition.

Nevertheless, Amelie stayed behind me and just jumped out of the cover with me to fire. She fired at the air shafts. The robots had a green camouflage paintwork and turned out to be extremely stubborn opponents. We had to fire some ammunition to destroy them. By late afternoon we had finally cleaned up the whole bunker. We locked the crew wing by locking all the access doors. We were able to go freely to the canteen, the common room, the bedroom, the infirmary and the laundry room. In the Warroom we found further documents.

Since it was already late, I suggested to set up a home first, to eat something and then to end the day. We examined the pantry and found that it was much larger than the one in the Vesslan bunker and contained many different canned food. We also found frozen fish and vegetables. The freezers were supplied by a separate power system, so that they continued to cool even when the power supply was switched off. We also found a lot of pallets of canned beer. We took what we could wear. Amelie was happy about the fish, because she hadn’t eaten for a long time. The dinner was rather sparse, as Amelie was also tired and our appetite was limited. We endet the day with a beer and some cigarettes.


#27

Day 35

The next morning we met in the canteen, we had breakfast together, then we discussed how to proceed. We decided to search the bunker. We found scribbled notes in the warroom, then extensive storage rooms. Amelie suggested cooking a slightly more opulent lunch for a change. The fish stabbed her in the nose. We took everything we had found in clues. While Amelie was working around in the kitchen, we were sifted through all the material. It emerged that the people had moved from the Salthamm Bunker to the Vesslan Bunker and were then transported to the Salthamm Naval Base. From there you should be disembarked. When the evacuation was in full swing, the bunker was attacked by many robots. They were even able to open the bunker doors to enter the bunker. That’s why we found the code cards in the robots we shot down.

I searched again for the control center and sat there at one of the computer terminals. I searched the menus and finally found the menu that controlled the door locks. I set them to manual code entry. You had to manually type in the code that was on the map to gain access. That protected against nasty surprises.

I also visited the armory to take stock. I found two boxes full of hand grenades. Also some dummy hand grenades for the exercise I found. With them, Amelie and Thort were able to learn how to use the hand grenades. A bazooka was also on one of the shelves. I remembered getting three of the high-explosive bullets out of a Hunterwreck. I found another box with about 20 bullets. This gave me the opportunity to train with the two of them how to deal with the bazooka. It was a very powerful weapon that we should definitely take with us.

I also found a lot of gas cartridges and mines. The roughly biscuit-sized parts were a terrible weapon. When a robot stepped on one of the parts, it created a large explosion that could tear a Hunter apart. Late at noon, Amelie called to eat. She had prepared baked fish and potatoes that we had found in one of the storage rooms. The food tasted excellent, it was something other than the canned food.

After lunch I asked them in the training room, which was also available in the Vesslan Bunker. I introduced them to the newly found weapons and their effect. Especially the mines and the hand grenades. I looked at Amelie in particular, because she always had her problems with the weapons. I explained the AK 5 to both of them again, because Amelie was supposed to handle this weapon. Strangely, she quickly found her way around the gun. I still had to help her dismantling and reassemble, but she learned quickly.

36.Day

Today I explained to them how to deal with the Bazooka. Especially the charging process, which was much faster than alone. I explained to Amelie how to insert the bullet into the firing tube and how the empty shell was removed. "When you put the bullet in and the gun is ready to fire, you give the shooter a pat on the helmet. When I let Amelie carry out the loading, I served as a shooter. She hit the helmet extra hard and when I looked at her, she grinned at me. Also Amelie should act as a shooter, it looked funny when Thort hit her with his big paw on the helmet.

"You are not to knock each other out," I drove in between, "but only a light slap."

In the afternoon we moved out of the bunker with the weapon. I let Amelie shoot first. We were looking for a Hunter who was staggering through the forest. We hid in the high grass. I loaded the Bazooka and gave Amelie a slight pat on the helmet.

"Target, aim and shoot," I told her.

She aimed and hit the Hunter. A loud detonation ensued. I reloaded the bazooka and gave Amelie another pat. She once again targeted the Hunter, who stood like a tin soldier. With a PFUMP, the bullet left the pipe and hit the Hunter, which exploded in a large embers.

Amelie beamed "Haha," she laughed, "I puffed him out."

Then we waited a while for more opponents to show up. Now it was Thort’s turn. He did a Hunter, too. I also showed them how to be loaded the Bazooka alone, but this took much longer. After a short firefight with some runners, we retreated.

37.Day

This morning, gun science was on the agenda. I had the two of them disassembled and assembled. They had to clean the weapons and oil them. I also had them disassemble the bazooka and reassemble them so that they could get to know their structure. Amelie found this weapon cool because she had a heavy calibre and had almost no recoil. In the afternoon we practiced grenade throwing in the hangar of the bunker. I explained to them the course of movement with the dummies and had them repeat this many times. Even when they twisted their eyes, I let them practice throwing again.

  1. Day

I showed them in the morning how to assemble the grenades. And served. Amelie was terrified as she bolted the grenade. I had already explained to them how dangerous things could be, especially if they didn’t handle it properly.

"When you take the grenade in your hand, press the handle and then pull out the locking pin with the ring. As long as the handle is pressed, nothing happens. Only when you let go will the handle fly off and the grenade will explode in three seconds. Then you should have thrown them far enough away."

I showed the two of them how to pull the pin, explained long and wide with the sharp grenade in my hand and then threw it. I had set up a makeshift target with an empty oil barrel. They were to throw the grenade at them so that they were thrown far enough away. I only had some steel barricades as cover. When I threw the grenade and it exploded, the shards flew hissing around. I picked up some of them to show them and point out the great danger of a missthrow. Amelie was anxious. I could see it. I had Thort thrown first so she could watch again.

Then it was Amelie’s turn. She screwed the detonator into the grenade with trembling hands. Thort and I went into cover, then I gave Amelie the order to throw. She pulled the ring and threw the grenade. I could already see from the beginning that the litter went wrong. She had throw far too steeply, presumably out of fear. Thort had also seen this and ran deeper into the hangar I immediately ran off and when the grenade fell far too close to the ground, I plunged on Amelie, while we fell to the ground, grabbed I with my hand her backhead so that she would not hit on the concrete floor.

I embraced her with my right arm, then the grenade exploded, at the moment we hit the ground. The pressure wave and a splinter rain swept over us. I felt stinging pain in my back. Something heavy fell on my legs. Amelie gave a sound like UFF!! of herself when she hit the ground, I lay on her. I stayed lying on her for a moment. My back felt like I had laid down on a nail board. The pain was indescribable.

I slowly straightened up. Amelie was also still dazed and ejected a painful auuuuaaaaa, oooooohhhh.
I was afraid that I had broken a few ribs when I fell on her.

She pressed her hands against my chest and looked at me with big, frightened eyes. I rose to my knees to take my body weight off her and crawled down from her. I could not get up on my legs, my pain was too great.

I asked Amelie "all right with you. Does breathing hurt you?"

"No," she said. "My back hurts from falling, but otherwise everything seems to be ok."

She straightened up, Thort appeared. I support myself with my forehead on the ground. Amelie slapped her hands in front of her mouth

"Ooooohhhhhh Helldiver, your back, Oooohhhhh."

Thort said with a worried voice. "Hell, that looks really shit, I think you urgently need to go to the hospital ward."

I got up slowly and in pain. Amelie and Thort helped me to my feet. I looked around, what had fallen on my feet turned out to be one of the metal barricades, she had stopped most of the splinter rain and looked like a Swiss cheese. I tried to walk with my pain distorted face. It was a miracle that nothing more had happened. We could have both died, it was only a split second. A second later, it would have been too late.

Amelie and Thort supported me as we went to the hospital ward. Amelie doctored me. Thort assisted her. She cried as she took off my tattered uniform jacket. She almost screamed when she saw my back. He was covered with scrapes and splinters.

I said to her , "you have to pull out the shards, even the smallest sliver has to get out. Take a magnifying glass afterwards and search carefully, even the smallest sliver can ignite and we have limited treatment options."

She started to work crying. Thort helped her and held a bowl into which she could throw the shards. She dabbed the wounds clean with iodine and looked closely with the magnifying glass. After some time she had removed all the shards. She could do the rest on her own. She once again she dabbed the wounds all with iodine and smear healing ointment on it. She was still sniffled when she put the bandage on me.

“I’m sorry,” she cried as she finished and looked in my face. ‘I didn’t want that, I’m sorry.’

'There’s nothing to cry for, it was an accident, you just didn’t throw it right. If you had thrown straight, nothing would have happened. You can’t throw grenades and then goggle into the splinter rain, that can be dangerous."

“I did everything wrong again, I messed it up and you’re hurt by it,” she sobbed. “I’m just scared of these horrible weapons.”

"Calm down, there’s nothing to cry for, stop it. It just happened.’

I took her hand and stroked it.

“Why do you always cry immediately? Nothing has happened to you and I am not tearing your head off even now. Sure, if I hadn’t reacted so quickly, we would both have been dead. But this can just happen, we’ve both been lucky.”

She sniffled and smiled at me thinly. "I just built close to the Seine," she said.

"What do you mean by that," I asked her.

“That is, when a girl has built close to the water, she cries quickly for something. I used to get a lot of scolding and beatings from my mother and then I got into a corner and cried and after that I was better and you know, if I’ve cried before, the thundery weather or the beating slammed it was not so bad.”

"And did it work?" I asked her

"No, not always," she replied.

“Well, there’s no thunderstorm and beating, so calm down,” I told her.

I got up from the chair and distorted my face. My back was aching and tense, but it wasn’t as bad as all those splinters in my back. Amelie was very worried, she pressed a pillow into my back when we were sitting on the couch and brought me everything whenever I needed anything.

  1. Day

I could only spend that night lying on my stomach. My back hurt a lot. Amelie changed the bandage after breakfast, examined the wounds and applied healing ointment again. We practiced throwing hand grenades, especially Amelie had to practice that. I had her assemble a sharp grenade and take it apart again. I wanted to take away her fear of that weapon. I practiced throwing it with her, over and over again.

40, Day

Today I let them throw a sharp grenade again. This time she did it right. I made it clear to her that she did not have to be afraid of the grenade if she handled it with the necessary care and did everything exactly as I had told her. She mastered the exercise with bravura and was visibly relieved. I let her throw a second grenade. She was beaming all over her face when I praised her afterwards.

  1. Day

I planned to go on a reconnaissance mission to the naval base with them. I looked at the map together with the two and determined a route. Because we had to move a lot over open terrain, I told them to be especially careful, because we could not get involved in a big fire fight. If we were confronted by several hunters, it would be a fight to the death. I also taught them that if we retreated we had to go straight to the bunker.

We loaded our weapons and went off. At first it was no problem, we almost made it to the gate of the naval base. We climbed up an adjacent wooded hill to be able to look into the naval base from an elevated point. Some hunters and many runners were walking around in the complex. In the middle was a transmitter mast. Next to it was a barrack where the radio equipment was located. The installation offered plenty of cover, because barrack after barrack was lined up. We could recognize the mouth of the bunker entrance by its wall. I marked important points on my map to be able to plan the next mission in detail. Then we retreated.

We almost made it to the bunker entrance. Not far from the entrance we walked into a bunch of Runner. We fired at them and were able to destroy a few, then one of these Seekers flew over the area and honks what the stuff held before I could shoot him down. Then two hunters came running at us. I fired at them with Thort. We had to change positions often because the Hunters were shooting at us. The runners tried to surround us. I stopped them by taking turns shooting at them. Amelie also fired and destroyed a Runner. Thort retreated toward the bunker. I followed him with Amelie.

Suddenly a large bush rushed in front of us and a Hunter stepped out, I had just emptied my G3. Amelie fired and screamed. As the Hunter came at us. I had just finished loading when her gun was empty. Instead of reloading, she screamed, threw the gun away and ran away. I fired at the Hunter to draw it away from Amelie. At the same time, I looked around hastily to see where Amelie was running. She just panicked and ran straight ahead instead of running to the bunker. Suddenly I was alone with the problem and had to protect Amelie as well. I fired more bursts of fire at the Hunter. I hit his arm MG and disarmed him.

"Damn it, Amelie, run for the shelter, quick!"

“I’m scared, I’m scared,” she cried crying.

"Run damn it," I shouted and pulled her up.

Then I gave her a jab while I kept firing at Hunter and kept him away. Some Runners tried to circle us and cut off the way to the bunker. My G3 was empty again. I quickly reloaded it and kept firing. I gradually pushed Amelie toward the bunker as she ducked behind me. I fired at the runners trying to circle us and finally made it to the bunker.

"Open the door on Amelie fast!" I shouted and kept firing.

It was four Runners and the Hunter that invaded us. I wouldn’t be able to keep them away for long, especially the Hunter, who would start a jump attack.

"At least shoot your gun!" I snapped at her.

Amelie stood staring at the wall in terror. I stood in front of her, took her by the arm and pushed her into the open bunker gate. I kept firing at the Hunter and exploded it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Thort in the hangar. He also fired at some runners who were entering the hangar. The runners fired at us and I fired back fiercely, bullets buzzing, ricochets howling, concrete chunks swirling around, hitting me in the face and ticking against my helmet. Then a shot blasted and I received a violent blow to my arm.

I fired back at the runners, then we were in the bunker. We had barely made it once more. Amelie looked at me with frightened eyes. As I walked towards the recreation room, she took a step back in front of me. I was more than pissed off. I wanted to twist her neck around. Thort came after me from the hangar. When I arrived in the lounge I took the helmet off my head and threw it with full force against the wall so that it flew around the room and crashed to the floor. Amelie shrugged and pulled her head between her shoulders.

I stood up in front of her and yelled at her."

"Damn it, Amelie, how many times have I told you in retreat to go straight to the bunker race and not just damn anywhere. "And then you throw your gun away when you’re too stupid to reload it. What’d I tell you? We run to the bunker, and we don’t have to fucking say it. We barely made the bunker again, a few more runners and we’d be lying out there full of holes just because you screwed up again. I was pacing back and forth like a tiger in front of her, shaking with rage. She had a red face, which was twisted into a sad grimace, she cried again.

“I’m sorry,” she said pressed and tried to hold back her tears.

Thort looked on the ground and said nothing.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I snorted back

“I can’t listen to your stupid I’m sorry, the same shit every time.”

My arm wound hurt and burned, but I didn’t pay attention to it, I was just too upset.

“And stop your fucking blubbering, it’s not gonna make it better. Every time you fuck up, we’re in mortal danger just because you don’t pay attention and throw your fucking gun away.”

I saw her with a teary-eyed face trying to say something to me and not get it out, then she put her hands in front of her face and ran away.

"God damn it," I yelled and kicked the helmet across the room, so that Thort raised his arms protectively.

"It went well again," Thort said.

"The hell it is," I hissed angrily back.

“We’re lucky to be alive,” I said a bit calmer.

I knew Thort couldn’t nothing for this.

“I’m going out for a smoke,” I said, signalling that I wanted to be alone.

I picked up my helmet, went to the hangar and passed the toilets, the ladies’ room was open, normally Amelie would retire to the toilet to cry. I guess not this time. I had folded her up pretty good, too. Somehow, I suddenly felt sorry for her. I went to the hangar. I had my helmet on and was carefully approaching the entrance.

I ducked behind the barricades and peeked. There were no runners to be seen at the moment. I ran to the next bush, then I ducked again. I couldn’t see any enemies, obviously they had had enough of us. I slowly worked my way to where I had finished off Hunter. The wreck lay in the meadow. I took the Hunter’s ammunition. Then I searched for Amelie’s rifle and found it a little later.

After that I withdrew carefully. Once in the hangar, I ducked behind a barricade and lit a cigarette. I saw her face again, the way she had looked at me. So afraid, so vulnerable. I was sorry I had jumped her like that. I’d have to apologize to her. I guess it was a little too strong what I had done to her. I felt sorry for her. Thort was calling my name.

"Hell you are here?"

"What is?” I called back and went to meet Thort.

“Amelie is gone, I haven’t seen her, and she’s not in the bathroom.”

"Have you looked in the bedroom and in the living room

"No, not yet."

“Let’s check there and in the kitchen, maybe she’s in some kind of storage room,” I said to Thort.

He turned around and went off. She couldn’t be outside, so I figured she wouldn’t be so unreasonable. Besides, I had just come from outside and hadn’t seen her. I went deeper into the hangar. In the rear part was an office barrack and a small warehouse. When I turned the corner I heard a slight sniffle. Amelie was sitting on a wooden box in a dark corner. When she saw me, she stood up and gave me a nasty look.

“Here’s your gun,” I told her and held it out to her.

She came towards me and tore it out of my hand, then pushed me aside and wanted to leave while she shouldered the rifle.

“Amelie, I’d like to talk to you,” I shouted after her. She stopped and turned to me

"What!" she hissed at me.

“What else do you want to talk to me about? Haven’t you trampled on me enough already?”

“Amelie, I wanted to apologize to you, it was a little too much what I threw at you, I’m sorry,” I said

“You’re sorry!” she yelled at me and took one step towards me

“You’re sorry,” you just accused me of saying that, and now you come with your I’m sorry. Every time a mission goes wrong, it’s me and I’m the one you’re stomping on."

She kept coming towards me, screaming in a high-pitched voice

"Have you given any thought to how I’m feeling “No, something goes wrong and you walk all over me. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself if I’m not afraid?”

she screamed at me in a high-pitched voice.

"Don’t you see, you ice block, that I’m afraid when I have to pick up one of those horrible weapons? I get scared every time I go out there with you guys. And then that huge robot just now, those deadly machines. I’M SCARED!! LISTEN TO ME I’M SCARED!! “I’M SCARED!”

she screamed as loud as she could in a shrill voice. I let this ranting tirade come down on me.

“I want to…” I couldn’t get any further, then she screamed again.

“YOU CAN’T IMAGINE HOW SCARED I AM!!!”

“I’M SCARED! I’m scared, so scared!”

and then she was shaken by a crying fit and cried heartbreakingly. She had put her hands in front of her face and opened her mouth wide, she sounded as if she was in pain.

There stood before me this dainty bundle of howling misery. I had simply put too much on this tender person and had not noticed it and on the contrary I had continued to beat her. I felt sorry for her as she stood there in front of me, leaning forward, her hands in front of her face and sobbing heartbreakingly. I wanted to comfort her and took her in my arms. She put up with it. Then I stroked her back and her hair and weighed her slightly.

"I’m sorry, Amelie. I beg your forgiveness. It wasn "t right what I did.

She sobbed in my arms for a while, then she sniffed a little more and put her face against my chest. Then she looked at me with teary eyes

"can you hold me just a little longer, that feels so good?"

"Of course, as long as you like," I said, putting my cheek to her head. Her hair tickled me a little and it felt good for me to hold her in my arms, too. I was ashamed because I had hurt her so. I had only dealt with boys before and the contact was a bit rougher. I had never dealt with a sensitive woman like Amelie. I would have to take myself back in the future. She grabbed my arm and grabbed exactly where the graze shot was. I gritted my teeth. She lifted her head from my chest and looked at me.

"Do you feel better now?" I asked her

“Yes, I’m fine. I accept your apology.”

“Amelie, I’m scared too, when I go out there. I may not show it like that, but I may feel the same way you do.”

She tried to wipe her nose and took her hand off my arm.

“IHHHH what’s that?” she suddenly said and pulled a face.

Her hand was full of blood

"That looks like blood," I told her. "Are you hurt?" I asked her.

“No, I’m not hurt but, OOOhhhh you’re hurt.”

She grabbed my jacket, which was slowly turning red.

"Everything is wet here, you are bleeding, are you hurt?"

"A little," I said.

"We have to go to the infirmary right away, I have to see this, come on!" she said and pulled me along by the hand.

Thort looked incredulous when he saw us. In the infirmary she pushed me onto a chair and then carefully pulled off my jacket.

"Ooohhhh mon dieu," she said when she saw the wound.

"You must take off that shirt too," she said and helped me.

"That was probably my fault because you had to pick me up again," she said in a trembling voice, tears approaching again.

“Amelie, it could have happened that way, it’s not your fault,” I said.

"Then why do you let me scold you even though you are in pain and bleeding?" she asked me.

“Because it was more important to talk to you,” I replied. She stroked my face and I got goose bumps. "You growl, snap and bite like a shaggy wolf and then you’re such a nice person again. I would like to see this dear person much more often. I have no one else. I have no one to talk to about my fears, no one to comfort me, can’t you be that?’ she asked me and looked at me pleadingly.

“You’re a poor soul, but I’ll try to be okay.”

She smiled at me and gave me a kiss on the cheek so that a shiver ran down my back. Then she set about tending my wound.

When she was done, I asked her again

“Are you all right now, Amelie? It’s important that we talk to each other, otherwise we’ll have serious problems out there if we don’t understand each other.”

“Everything is ok, it’s alright now, I told you what I thought once.”

“That was good like that, you have it hard with us two boys, you know it is something different when a few boys are among each other, there is teasing, there is jostling, you tell each other what you think and if there is no other way, you get something in your face. Well, I’ve never had anything to do with a girl before and I’ve got to learn how to do it.”

Amelie smiled at me and said

“It’s enough for me to understand that I’m so afraid of the hunters. And if you stop yelling at me so badly, I’m afraid of you.”

“You don’t have to be afraid of me, I was just really angry, we just cheated death. I don’t do everything right either. But please, if you’re scared, then talk to me about it, you know when I’m not ready to talk.” She nodded and said.

“Yeah, you always show that when you don’t want to talk.”

We left the infirmary, Amelie turned into the kitchen

“I’ll fix us something to eat.”

I went on into the bedroom, I put down my weapons. Then I washed.

In the evening we sat together for a while. Amelie had found a guitar which had been lying in one of the crew rooms. She tuned it and strummed it around a bit. Before long, she had the guitar tuned.

Then all of a sudden, she was playing a song. She plucked the sides and started singing, she sang “Dust in the Wind” this beautiful song from Kansas. The way she sang that song, it sounded beautiful. Amelie’s pleasant voice floated through the room along with the soft guitar sounds. Her French timbre gave me goose bumps.

Thort and I listened intently. She made us forget the deadly danger we were in.

Weren’t we all just dust in the wind, blown away by the wind of life? Did we have any real chance at all to survive it? or were we fighting a pointless battle?

When she stopped, she put the guitar aside and sat down on the couch with her knees drawn up. She leaned her head on her knees and stayed introspective. Usually she was very talkative, but now she was calm. She seemed thoughtful.

  1. Day

After breakfast I explained the battle once more, but did not go into the mistakes that were made. I saw that Amelie’s tension disappeared from her face. I also explained the naval base again and worked out a plan together with them. Afterwards I said.

“Well, enough for today, I think we all deserve a breather. So lazing around, showering, exercising, reading, hanging out. And Amelie, if you need help in the kitchen, just say so, you don’t have to do everything by yourself all the time!”

She smiled “Oh no, it’s not work, don’t bother.”

I grabbed my G3 and was about to leave the bunker. When I came out of the bedroom, Amelie asked me where I was going, I said

"get a little fresh air."

"May I come with you, or am I a nuisance?"

"No, you can come along," I told her.

She suddenly beamed and ran quickly into the sleeping room, a little later she came back with her AK 5 and the helmet on her head. At the bunker door I peered left and right. Then we went into the forest. Once again I scanned the area with binoculars and could not see any robots. I reached a place from where I could see the coast and had a very nice view over Södra Saltholmen. At a group of erratic blocks we sat down on the ground, so nothing could attack us. I offered Amelie a cigarette which she took. We smoked in silence and I enjoyed the late summer sun.

"May I lean on you?" she asked me. I nodded and she leaned her head on my shoulder. She had her eyes closed and smiled.

"May I put my arm around you, it would be more comfortable?" I asked her.

She opened her eyes directly, stood up and put her head against my chest.

"Merci (French: Thank you)," she breathed.

As I held her, I peered with my binoculars, smoked and hung my thoughts. Amelie seemed to enjoy the closeness. She had taken off her helmet and I could see that she was lying against my chest with her eyes closed.

I held a candy bar under her nose and waved it gently. She picked it up and nibbled at it.

"Will this nightmare ever end?" she suddenly asked.

“If I could give you an answer to that, it’ll probably be a long time before this is over. I don’t know what’s going on myself,” I sighed.

"What are you thinking about? she asked.

“I’m thinking about what to do next and how to get to the naval base in one piece.”

"Am I disturbing you now, am I a burden to you? She asked.

“If I had, I wouldn’t have taken you with me.”

"Can I tell you something?" she asked again.

"What? I asked back.

"I’d like to be with you more often. I don "t have anybody else to talk to. I can “t do that with Thort. And this, you giving me a hug, just like that, feels so good, for me anyway. This is something I rarely get at home, and the boys I met that way didn’t give it to me either, they always just wanted to feel me up and you don’t do that at all. I can talk to you, you listen to me, so I’d like to be near you more often if you don’t mind.”

“You don’t have a lot of choice right now, but if it helps you, it’s okay with me,” I said to her.

“I often dare not, because you’re always so grim.”

"Am I?" I asked her and she just nodded.

“There’s so many things on my mind, just talk to me. I’ll tell you when I want to be left alone.”

"Have you ever actually been with a girl like we are now?" she asked, I was beginning to wonder what she was getting at and why she was asking me all this, what was going on inside her?

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#28

Surely she was a poor sock somehow, who had been treated with little love at home and now was also getting under the wheels here. I was not exactly squeamish with her, maybe she needed the human closeness much more than I or Thort did. I had no idea how to deal with such a sensitive girl. The girls I had met had only been fleeting acquaintances, nothing deeper than Ronja, but that was more of a teenage love, fleeting and superficial. We never had any real physical contact, not like I had with Amelie. I honestly did not know why she needed it and why it was so important to her. But it was a nice feeling when she snuggled up.

“Hello, I asked you a question!” she’d sing and wave her hand in front of me.

“Sorry, I was thinking, no I’ve never been with a girl before, not like with you, this is completely new for me.”

“Then I’m really the first one who gets to do it, lying in your arms?”

“Yes, you’re the first,” I confirmed.

"But we also have to think slowly about the way back, it’ll be dark in an hour.

The sun was already very low on the horizon and poured warm red light over the land.

"Cinq minutes "(franz: five minutes)?" she asked "How many minutes?" I asked and she held up her hand and showed me five fingers.

Before she rose, she put her arm around me, pressed me tightly and breathed "merci".

As we walked back, I peeked with my binoculars. She picked a few small meadow flowers, which she put on her helmet. Then she gave a shout of joy

"Ohhh Helldiver look at chanterelles."

She lifted the low-hanging branches of a fir tree and little mushrooms glowed yellow on the ground. She picked them carefully. I gave her my military cap so she could pick the mushrooms

in it. Although we had to go back to the bunker I let her continue to collect, she seemed to enjoy it.

For dinner she had fried the brought mushrooms in butter and put them on the table together with an omelette. It tasted really delicious.

After dinner we talked about the naval base again, then we sat together in the lounge. I put on some music and we smoked. I hung my thoughts. Suddenly the radio played "Unchained Melody", a beautiful oldie from the "Righteous Brothers".

Suddenly Amelie stood in front of me and held out her hand smiling.

"Please come and dance with me."

I stood up and granted her wish. She snuggled up to me again, put her hand on my right shoulder and her head on my chest. I got goose bumps, a strange feeling when she touched me like that. As I swayed with her in the dance, Thort put up his thumb and laughed. The soft sounds of the melody blew through the bunker and made us forget for a moment the constant threat.

  1. Day

We discussed once again the mission to the naval base. We packed up our gear and got ready to move out. We cleaned out the bunker. Amelie made up little morsels in the kitchen that we could take with us. We didn’t know what to expect there. Then I told everyone to get some more rest. I scheduled the march for tomorrow.

  1. Day

We marched off. It was raining cats and dogs, and in the distance we heard the sound of thunder. A real dirty weather came down on us. One good thing about it was that there were not many robots and the rain drowned out our sounds as we walked through the forest.

"I am all wet," Amelie moaned.

Thort smirked, rolling his eyes and lasciviously mimed Amelie after “I’m all wet.”

One evil look from me shut him up right then and there. I couldn’t stand such insults. We did it like at Salthamm Sports Grounds. I peered, ran up and caught up with Amelie. Thort formed the rearguard.

So we worked our way up to the entrance of the naval base. On a hill behind the entrance gate, stood a barrack. In front of it stood some containers. The way up to the barrack was relatively long. I decided to advance to the container and then let Amelie follow, then she should stop at my place and run into the barrack.

Then Thort would follow and finally me. Amelie looked a little frightened. I smiled encouragingly at her. Then we started. Amelie came to me quickly and deftly like a cat. I whispered in her ear what she should do next. Then she ran off. I listened and heard a door slam. Then Thort ran off. Suddenly a sheaf of shells swept down the road and followed Thort. Dirt splashed up behind him and some projectiles hit the container behind which I had barricaded myself. I waved him on immediately.

I heard the ominous sounds of a hunter running up the road at high speed, I pulled a hand grenade from my belt and pulled the safety ring. The robot came around the container, I immediately threw the hand grenade, rolled aside and threw another one. The robot was still on the street sparking. I fired at the robot. It wavered, it was a green one. They had more armor than the orange Hunter.

I could hear Thort’s G3 barking behind me. He had taken the robot under fire and gave me the opportunity to retreat to the barracks. I turned around and fired at the robot as well and another Hunter came running up the road. Amelie squatted in the high grass and fired as well. I had made it. I was also at the barracks. I sent Amelie inside and supported Thort. Then I threw another hand grenade and blew up the robot. I extinguished two more runners who came running and Thort fetched another seeker from the sky, then we were in the barracks.

We looked around and found ammunition and on a shelf was a Kpist submachine gun. I found ammo for it, too. Amelie watched with interest as I loaded the gun and wondered

"you know your way around a gun?"

"Not quite, I also have to see where to unlock the magazine and where the trigger and especially the safety catch is."

"Do you want it?"

Amelie down to her lower lip and smiling at me.

"Thort what do you think?" I asked.

“Give it to her, it’s too small for me, it’s for girls!” Amelie stuck her tongue out at him.

She was doing target practice and thought it was just the right weapon for her.

"She is practically like a purse," she said as she put the strap around her shoulder and aimed again.

"You can try it right now, because we have to go on," I replied.

I carefully went to the window of the barrack and continued to peer across the grounds. A little further down the street another barrack could be seen. We crept ducked down to the edge of the embankment. Not far away some hunters and runners were running across the grounds. It took me too long to let them all run to this barrack one by one, the danger that the gang down there would notice us was much too great. I told Amelie that she had to run with me. Thort was to form the rearguard and give us fire cover from a height, but he was to retreat immediately if he came under fire.

I watched the robots and when I thought the time was right I gave Amelie a pat on the shoulder. She ran off immediately and I ran about two steps behind her

"run as fast as you can," I shouted to her. I saw a hunter turn towards us and his sensors jumped straight to red. I was prepared for an attack and before I ran I had picked up two grenades and armed them, I threw them in the middle of the robots as I ran, then I took the G3 and fired what the rifle gave.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Amelie firing from the MP as well. A runner exploded. I threw myself down as a sheaf of bullets swept over me lying on the ground changing the magazine. Amelie suddenly jumped out of the barrack door like a box devil and threw a hand grenade. It did Klonk when she hit a hunter. She yanked up the MP, fired the moment I jumped up and ran wildly to her. The grenade exploded, ripping the robot apart.

My G3 was empty-fired, I pulled out my Klaucke and fired at the runners that came at me, then I was with Amelie, diving into the barracks. She took her AK5 and kept firing.

“Well done,” I told her as I reloaded my weapons. Thort fired from the hill and covered the remaining hunters. I happened to see two runners running up the driveway to Thort’s barracks. I said to Amelie.

" cover me." She fired hard at the robots while I finished off the runners who were trying to hassle Thort. I waved Thort. He should come too. There was another barracks across the street from me. When Amelie fired, I ran over there and took the robots under fire from there. I always fired while Amelie was changing her magazine.

Then Thort was also with us. From there we fought our way, barrack by barrack, towards the bunker entrance. When a hunter took me under fire I noticed that there were two cars behind him. I fired a volley into the tank of one of the cars, it exploded and tore Hunter to pieces. Amelie stood well behind me and fought bravely. I praised her from time to time and she smiled back at me.

Then the radio was in front of us. I fought my way through with Amelie, she did quite well. As we stormed into the barracks I could already see the ominous red lights of a tick. Amelie had seen them too, fired her MP and finished him off. Another tick was sitting in the switch box of the radio and Amelie also destroyed him. "Ha ha ha, gotcha," she laughed.

I tapped her on the shoulder appreciatively. "Well done."

We searched the radio station and took everything that looked interesting. On the radio I heard a message that was cut off, but by the tone of voice it might have been Russian. To the bunker complex it was still about 200 m of it at least half of it was open terrain to my regret. We loaded our weapons after then I ran back to Thort’s base with Amelie.

I watched the area a few runners and also some hunters were to be seen. In a distance of about 100 m there was a building, from there it was not far to the hangar of the bunker. I decided to run in pairs again. Halfway there we were fired at, Amelie reacted immediately without me having to say anything.

While she fired, I crawled up behind her. "Don’t be frightened when I grab your bottom, I want your hand grenades. She had these in the combat bag on her back. "I fired my G3 while she was changing magazines. Thort fired from behind and kept the robots busy. While the projectiles whistled over me I reached into her pocket and pulled out the hand grenades. I pulled the ring from the first grenade and threw it, a second and a third after it. Some detonations followed. I took the remaining robots further under fire, gave Amelie a pat on her bottom and shouted out loud “Run fast,” she jumped up immediately and ran.

Then I heard Thort fire, reloaded my G3 and ran wildly firing. Then I was with Amelie, "She laughed at me. Then I shot around the corner of the building again to keep the runners down while Thort ran across the square. He fired as well. Then he was with us, too. I sent Amelie to the first concrete barrier in front of the bunker entrance and gave her fire cover, then I ran past her to the next barrier. We fought our way further into the bunker entrance. Thort cleared the bazooka and fired on the robots, rockets from the bazooka hit the robots and wreaked massive destruction.

We threw our remaining hand grenades. Even Amelie threw a few grenades. Then a strange calm set in. I could even hear the chirping of birds and the screaming of gulls. I glanced carefully over the concrete barrier and looked out over the grounds. Everywhere I looked there were smoking debris of robots. The others also rose. We had decided the battle for us for the time being. We reloaded all our weapons and started to penetrate the bunker.

I went ahead, Amelie followed me. She had the submachine gun ready. When we were behind the barricades, some runners and ticks were waiting for us. Amelie fought the ticks while we shot down the runners. Then we reached a gate.

I crept slowly forward and suddenly I heard the Djieep…, Djieep…, Djieep…, Djieep… of a Hunter. His heavy footsteps came closer in front of the gate a concrete barrier was standing I showed Thort and Amelie they should take cover behind it. We had just ducked behind it, when a Hunter with his 4 m height appeared an overpowering machine, hissing and clacking his sword out and in. He sent out this penetrating humming sound.

Amelie looked at the Hunter with eyes wide open in terror, her face had turned pale as a corpse, frozen in fear. A whimpering sound escaped her. I grabbed her quickly and covered her mouth.

“SSSSCCCHHHHHH, be quiet, be quiet or we’re all dead. He hears the slightest sound,”

I whispered in her ear. She trembled like a leaf under my hands. She looked at me with eyes wide open in fear.

“Trust me,” I whispered, “I’ll finish the robot, but you have to be quiet, you hear?”

She was still shaking and nodding.

“I’m going to take my hand off your mouth now, do you promise not to scream?”

She nodded. I loosened my grip and took my hand away. She held still. The robot turned around and walked away. Into the passage that lay behind the gate. I held Amelie in my arms. I knew she needed closeness now. I looked for her hand and squeezed it. She returned the pressure and squeezed it as if she wanted to cling to me. I counted the steps of the hunter. Then I heard him stop. Then the humming sound came again and the steps approached again.

When the robot appeared again, Amelie opened her eyes again. I pressed her against me again and I noticed that she was no longer trembling. I waited for the robot to go away again. I admonished Amelie once again to remain calm in a whisper. Then I quietly jumped out from behind the cover. I had left my rifle and backpack with Amelie. I crept into the gate and looked around the corner of the corridor. I saw the hunter going down the aisle. I crouched down and pushed a mine into the passage. The robot had heard the quiet digging. The scream of the predator sounded, I still saw red light in the passage and heard fast, heavy steps. I ran around the corner and along the wall where the gate was, it was too far to the concrete barrier. Then a detonation broke the silence.

I looked around the corner once more. The Hunter lay burning as a wreck in the passage. Amelie jumped out from behind the cover and brought my rifle and my backpack. She breathed a sigh of relief

“I’ll be all right,” I asked. She nodded. We advanced further. A few tics we still encountered on the way to the power station, then we had secured everything. The bunker looked almost like the Salthamm bunker. It was not as big as the Vesslan Bunker. But even here there were supplies. Amelie still looked pale. I just took her in my arms. She soaked up the care like a dry sponge.

“Helldiver, excuse me, I’m so terribly afraid of the hunters,” she peeped.

“It’s all right, it’s over for the moment. Should I let you go now?” She pressed herself a little harder against me and said

“Don’t you dare.” And she looked at me with bright eyes and smiled.

Afterwards we examined the bunker more closely. We also found a war room. Here we also found notes that we collected.

We ate the little bites that Amelie had prepared in the Vesslan Bunker. At least there was beer here again, which we drank thirsty.

  1. Day

The next morning we examined the area. We had some small skirmishes with the robots, but we could fight them well. The boats in the harbour were completely gone. We found some ammunition, which we put in. The fact that there was no more boat did not exactly lift my spirits. I had hoped to find a boat and leave the island for the mainland with them to bring them to safety.

Thort would join me, I was mainly concerned with Amelie, so that she could at least go home and to safety. The disappointment was written in my face. When we had seen all the material we could get a picture of what had happened.

All civilians had been disembarked before the robots had taken the base. Bitter fights must have taken place and several wrecks of tanks stood on the area. There was also a latent smell of corpses hanging in the air. There were many dead people lying around on the grounds. Many were army men and policemen. Some were badly battered.

“Don’t look at Amelie,” I said when I saw the sheer horror written on her face.

I also had trouble digesting the images. When we came to the North Gate, which was the main entrance to the complex, there were many badly mauled dead people lying around. Some bodies looked like they’d been crushed by something heavy. Bones and Intestines came out of the burst bodies. Amelie slapped her hands in front of her face and cried I took her in my arms and pulled her away from the place.

"Forgive me for crying, but the sight is so horrible, I have never seen anything so cruel."

I held her and told her “that’s all right, it’s not easy for me either.”

She calmed down slowly, then we went back to the bunker. I was silent the whole way. My thoughts turned to how I should continue.

Apparently a smaller group of people had fled to Hästvik, there was probably a radio station there, a radio message from a certain Anita Sjögren pointed to this group. It seemed to be a resistance group. I summed up

“we can’t get away from here because all the boats have left the base. We can’t make contact either, because the radio communication is jammed. And it looks like there are still a few scattered ones that have set off in the direction of Hästvik to meet up with other resistance fighters. The only thing we can do now is to follow this trail. I don’t have a better idea now.”

"And why do you make such a sour impression?" Thort asked.

"I am not angry, but a little disappointed I had hoped that we could find a boat and go to the mainland. So that you or Amelie would have a chance to get home. Shit!" I said.

“I’ll go Hell with you,” Thort said. Amelie said nothing and just looked at me strangely.

"May I speak with you Helldiver alone?" she asked

"Yes, of course," I replied.

Thort got up and said I he was going to the common room to have a smoke. I nodded. When Thort was out the door, Amelie jumped up and walked around the warroom playing nervously with her fingers. Her face was pinched. Obviously, she was looking for words. Then suddenly she turned to me.

"…you want to get rid of me, Helldiver. I thought we were friends?"

"What does this have to do with friendship now?" I asked back.

She lit a cigarette and nervously pulled at it. There was suddenly a tense mood, as if she was upset.

"What does this have to do with friendship now?" I repeated my question.

"I have the impression you only came here with us to get rid of me."

“Who’s talking about getting rid of you? I just wanted you to have a chance to get out of this mess. What Thort does is his business, but you could go home, you would be safe,” I said to her while she was still walking around nervously.

“And then you’d have one problem less, right?”

“I don’t know what you’re getting at, Amelie. The question no longer even arises. The boats are all gone anyway.”

“Yes, and it’s bothering you, now you’ll be stuck with me for a while longer.” She said somewhat snippily

“Who says I’m stuck with you?”

“You just said that. You’d be happy if I could go home.” She said it again in that snappish tone of voice.

“Amelie, I really don’t understand you right now. Nobody wants to get rid of you, it would only have been nice if you had had the chance, what is so bad about it?” I replied.

"That means at the next best opportunity that comes along, you will give me a ride and then Adieu (french: bye). “

I lit a cigarette for myself and pulled on it.

“Amelie, you can think I’m stupid or slow-witted now, I don’t understand what your problem is. What is so wrong with getting out of here, explain it to me,” I said.

“I don’t want to be sent away from you, you understand. I want to stay with you.”

I shook my head “Of course you can stay with us, nobody said anything about getting rid of you. That is and remains your decision. But you know, you’re putting me in a position of responsibility. If something happens to you, your parents or relatives will blame me and ask me why I didn’t make sure you came home.”

“Yeah, your fucking sense of duty, but what about me? Don’t you want me with you?”

I got up and stood in front of her and asked

"may I?"

She ask "What?" I spread my arms and just took her in my arms

"Oh that," she said with a smile.

“Aren’t we friends?” she asked me with a sad look.

“Yes we are friends, even if we haven’t talked about it yet. I don’t want to get rid of you, and it’s okay if you’re with me.”

Suddenly she smiled again. She looked deep into my eyes and said

“you are the first man who listens to me and understands me, you take away my fear, you see when I’m sad and comfort me and even when you just hold me, like now. That means an awful lot to me. That’s all I want from you. Don’t send me away.”

"No one will send you away, I promise," I said to her and just put a kiss on her forehead.

She pressed herself a little harder against me and dug herself into my chest.

"Merci," she said. We stood for a moment, she must have needed that hug and the warmth I gave her.

"Is everything all right with you now?" I asked her "Oui (French: Yes)," she said beaming and threw me a kissing hand as she left.

I was left behind a little perplexed. What was that number about. Was her problem that she wouldn’t get a hug from me or she couldn’t talk to me. And then this friendship box. We were an inevitably mixed bunch, meeting each other purely by chance and connected by the situation at the moment; no more and no less. If we were to survive this, or if we were to be shipped by chance, then everyone would go their own way, maybe have a beer together first and that would be that.

Why Amelie was making such a fuss I couldn’t understand, suddenly it occurred to me that she might have fallen in love, I hadn’t thought about that yet, why should she? Yes, she was pretty even with the military uniform and the uncombed hair flattened by the helmet, she was still pretty. She had a natural beauty. She was a nice girl, sometimes a bit snippy and headstrong, that might have been because I hadn’t had much to do with women of that age. I decided to be a bit more reserved towards her, because I did not want to fall in love now, although I liked her.

  1. Day

We decided to leave and started the same day. We made our way along the coast to Hästvik. According to my map it was a big farm. When we got there we found a radio. In Anita Sjögren’s notes we found references to a military camp called Saltholmstungan and a bunker called Skarven. We took quarters on the upper floor. Amelie got the bed again, me and Thort made ourselves comfortable on the floor.

In the early morning we had a visitor - I was startled from my sleep by the sound of the servo motors of a Hunter. I immediately had my gun in my hand. The other two were rudely awakened when I opened fire. Glass shattered and shots cracked. Amelie screamed and rolled up on the floor. I had slowly walked down the stairs and was sitting huddled in the hallway, firing through the shot windows. A seeker swarmed around the house and sent out his shock wave, which temporarily took our sight. I suddenly heard the hoarse bark of a claw and a small explosion, Amelie had probably overcome her terror and had shot the seeker. Thort and I fought the Hunter.

Carefully I peered out the front door and saw another runner, which I shot down with a few well-aimed shots. Then Thort and I went around the house from two sides. We scouted the area and could not see any more enemies. Then we went inside the house. Amelie had made coffee in the kitchen when she saw that we were patrolling the house. After we had a cup of coffee we packed our things and marched towards Saltholmstungan. We walked through a grove along a rocky coast.

When we saw the military camp, we could spot some runners. A Seeker also flew around the camp. Thort was taking care of him when he made the mistake and came too close to us. Amelie snatched some Runners away with her hunting rifle. When we came closer we got into a firefight with two hunters. We fired at them in threes. Both died in a detonation. Then the way to the camp was free, we worked our way slowly before Amelie had switched back to the submachine gun to avoid possible tick attacks. We found many useful things including a Kpist submachine gun and lots of ammunition. We loaded everything into our backpacks and went in search of the Skarven Bunker. We walked further along the coast and found an entrance that was cut into the rock face.

When we opened the door a garlic-like smell came over me and a slight dizziness

"Get out now!!" I yelled, because there was poison gas in that bunker.

We left the bunker immediately and went outside to get some fresh air. Then we put the gas mask on. I helped them and checked the tightness. I told them not to take the mask off until I gave the order. Especially Amelie, I sharpened it again, because she complained that it was so difficult to get air under the mask. I told her that she would die within a very short time if she took off the mask. She nodded and I hoped that she would take my warning seriously.

Then we went back inside. Some tics came crawling up the stairs. Amelie and I made short work of them. The power center was in the basement. In the light of the flashlight I saw the green-yellow mist wafting in the cellar entrance. The whole cellar was under poison gas. I said, "If you feel nauseous or dizzy, get out of the cellar right now, Amelie, you heard me. "Don’t go running anywhere, just get out, okay? I could see that she was rolling her eyes behind her mask because of my extra blast, but I knew her behaviour and that she panicked quickly.

Then we went downstairs. We groped our way through the dangerous, poisonous fog, had to destroy another runner staggering strangely, then I could flip the switch. There were many corpses in the control room. I told them, "Get out of there." I formed the rearguard I was a little nauseous, but I made it out of the cellar and locked the door. I shooed them both into the fresh air and showed them how to decontaminate the clothes first. We patted each other down with our gloves. Then I had the protective masks taken off.

We went back into the bunker. The smell of garlic had disappeared. The ventilation had filtered the poison gas from the upper parts of the bunker out of the air we breathed. The bunker was slightly smaller than the Salthamm bunker. But it contained some food and a sleeping room. We decided to stay here for the night.


#29

47. Day

After breakfast we sat in the warroom of the Skarven Bunker and looked at the notes that had fallen into our hands. There was a resistance group around Anita Sjögren. They had split up in the Skarven Bunker. Anita had moved on to the island of Hjimfäll, because there were other survivors who had barricaded themselves in the Björntunet Hotel.

The other group, partly consisting of members of the army, had moved to the Minken Bunker, because there too parts of the army offered fierce resistance. We discussed and debated where to go. I favoured the Minken Bunker on the grounds that there were several harbour towns there, such as Fiskebäk, Lännbacka, Källeby, Asö, Smabadshamnen and Sillavik. Here I hoped to find a ship to get to the mainland. On Hjimfäll we would be on an island, which would not get us much further. When I tried to get them to go to the Minken Bunker, Amelie jumped up and kicked her chair to the side. She looked at me angrily and said

“You don’t give up! Go wherever you want because of me. Helldiver you do what you want anyway!”

Then she left the room in a rage. Thort and I exchanged a look.

“What’s wrong with her, what’s happened with her?” Thort asked.

“I don’t know either, but I have a suspicion. I’ll have to talk to her, and alone,” I replied Thort.

I went into the bedroom, took her jacket, her helmet and her rifle. I wanted to leave the bunker and go with her to the beach. I had to have a serious word with her, because she must have got something completely wrong. I looked for her and heard cupboard doors slamming shut in the kitchen and things slammed pretty hard on the tin table. I turned into the canteen and saw Amelie running around the kitchen quite furious. Although it was way too early for dinner, she pretended to be cooking. With her face pinched, she went to the cupboards, took out bowls and pots, slammed them on the table, then pulled out a drawer and took something out and slammed the drawer shut as if she needed to abreact. I knocked on the kitchen door but didn’t wait for her to invite me in, I just entered the kitchen.

"Get out, what are you doing here," she drove at me poisonously.

I didn’t know why she was so upset.

“You’ve already told me everything. It’s so easy to take a blond stupidly for a fool. You’re putting on a show for me to keep quiet. No, don’t you think I don’t know what’s going on here,” she said poisonously . Slowly I began to suspect what she had and a few words of clarification were due here, and in peace. That’s why I went to her although she was clamoring,

"Go away, I have to cook!"

I didn’t let myself be put off and just pulled the bow of her apron she was wearing and put the helmet on her head and took the bowl with curd out of her hand.

“Curd has no need to be cooked, and that’s it, you’re coming with me to the beach, we have to have a serious talk, at eye level and without shouting at each other. Put on your jacket!”

She looked at me in astonishment, probably because I had spoken to her so strict, then she slipped into the jacket I had hold to her. I took her by the hand and pulled her behind me. She did not try to wrest her hand from me and she followed me without me having to pull her. She still looked angry, though. She only took her hand away once briefly when she wanted to snap her helmet latch, then she laid her hand back in mine. We left through the entrance that led to the beach, the bunker. I took

another look around behind the entrance door, but since it was a steep, rocky coast we didn’t have to fear any robots, the terrain was too rough for them. I looked for a place where we could sit opposite each other and which gave us a little cover. I offered her a cigarette and gave her a light. Then I lit one myself. She nervously pulled the cigarette a few times. I was about to say something when she said poisonously to me

“I’m very disappointed in you, you’re putting on quite a show for me here. You must have thought I was some blonde stupidly who didn’t realize it. Do you think maybe I didn’t see through you? The way you kept bringing up the bunker. There’s so many ports. There might be a ship to get to the mainland. There’s a way to get silly Amelie home. Don’t you think I noticed?”

I didn’t have spit. What a trip she took! As she rant, the corners of her mouth twitched and I saw her struggling desperately to keep her composure so as not to burst into tears.

“You think you can wrap me up now to give me some peace. I thought I’d made some friends and above all I’d found someone I could trust who wouldn’t just abandon me. But it was a mistake, I drew the blank like so many times in life.”

She was breathing heavily and her look was a mixture of disappointment, anger and sadness. Her mouth was pinched and twitchy. She struggled perceptibly for composure.

"Amelie, may I now?" I handed her the pack of cigarettes again, she took another one and i gave a light. She kept wiping the back of her hand over her mouth.

“Amelie, who’s talking about you being deported? I promised you the day before yesterday that you could stay with me and I have no intention of deporting you. I am a man of my word. I only favored the solution Minken Bunker, because I hope to find some resistance fighters or troops I can join. If we could find a ship and get to the mainland I would look for allies there to continue the fight. But I said that from the beginning. Whether you want to stay with me or not is entirely up to you. Whether you want to continue to join me or rather go home is your decision and no matter how it turns out, I will accept it. No one was talking about deporting you.”

As I spoke to her, the corners of her mouth twitched and she breathed heavily, nervously pulling on her cigarette and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand over and over again. Her eyes were glassy.

"Amelie, this is my home and I want it back. All I can do at the moment is hide in a hole like a rat and hope to survive the next day and not lie on the street some day, torn to shreds by bullets. That’s why I want to fight for my home, to get it back. If you want to join me, you have to be aware that you might have to pay a high price. I can’t go home like you. At least you still have a home, you know where your parents are. But I don’t have anything anymore.

“I don’t have a home either.” Her voice trembled and sounded bitter.

"I’ve always been sent away. I spent my whole youth in some boarding school or other. My father couldn’t care because he never had time, because he had to work all the time, he’s a self-employed architect. My mother never had time for me because she only had her career in mind and I was in the way. So they sent me away, put me in boarding school. Do you know how bad it is when you look forward to your parents on the weekend as a child, when all the children are standing there with packed bags and suitcases and are greeted and picked up by their parents with joy. And you as the only child are told that you can go back to your room because your parents called because they don’t have time for you. And now, when I was thinking…

she breathed heavily and struggled to hold her composure," where I thought I had some friends who wouldn’t push me away, you come and plan this quietly. "

Her face was sadly contorted, she was close to tears.

“I had thought that I could make a living here in Sweden, study, find a job, meet a nice man and maybe have children with him. I want to finally know where I belong …and not always be sent away …because I’m…in the way.”

I sighed and had to swallow a lump in my throat myself. She sounded so bitter and so disappointed that I felt sorry for her.

She was breathing heavily, her face was contorted, her lips trembled. I spread my arms and said to her.

"Amelie, please come to me."

"Where to?" she asked.

"Here with me, on my lap, or is that too close for your ?"

She stood up, sat on my lap and wrapped her arms around me. She pressed herself tightly against me and clung to me in such a way that I felt like she didn’t want to let go of me. I felt her wet mouth and her breath at the bend of my neck. Her shrugging shoulders showed me that she was struggling violently with her tears. Not only did I feel sorry for her, but it was something else, it hurt me to see her suffer so much. How could I convince her otherwise.

I stroked her hair and her back and said to her

“Amelie, you’re on a completely wrong track. You’ve completely misunderstood me. Whether you stay with me or not is for you to decide. I can understand why you’re so disappointed, though. But you have completely misunderstood. I’m not sending you away.”

I took her hand, which was on my right shoulder.

"Amelie, I promise you in your hand I will not send you away. I can do no more than give you my word. "

She breathed heavily and nodded without saying a word.

“What went wrong in your childhood, I cannot reverse. But what I can give you is that you belong to me for now. And to Thort. What once is, if we have survived this, is still a long way off, but then you will decide on your further way and whom you want to join. Whether or not you want to continue being with me. That’s all I can give you right now, that’s all I have.”

"This is very much what you are giving me, Helldiver, it means a lot to me."

I got a big wet kiss from her on the cheek. She was still breathing heavily. I could hear her choking down her tears.

“Amelie, whenever you’re feeling distressed and something is bothering you. Then talk to me, i hear, anytime, I promise you. If you want to lean on me and just need a shoulder, you don’t have to ask if you can touch me, just lean on me.”

She clung on to me even more. “Thanks Helldiver, thanks, you don’t know what this means to me.” I got another big wet kiss on my cheek. Her face felt wet, as if a few tears had run down her face. She caressed my face and gently stroked my stubble beard.

“You can hug me if you want to without asking, Helldiver, you know how much I like that. You did that the day before yesterday because you saw that I needed that. I used to have to beg for every hug for every affection. The only thing my Grand mere (French: Grandma) did that was like you. She would hug me and I was still allowed to sit on her lap when I was sad, even when I was 17. But she died two years ago, and you’re doing it like her.”

She was breathing heavily again, she was still agitated.

“I don’t want to give up what you do. Please don’t send me away.”

“Amelie, I can understand your fears now, but I’ve just made you a firm promise and I’ll keep my word. You’ll have to trust me, won’t you?”

She nodded without a word. I held her in my arms. I grab in my pocket and gave her a tissue. She blew her nose. She had calmed down a bit. I offered her another cigarette. She took it and we both smoked.

"Can I sit on your lap for a while?"

"As long as you like." I told her.

She smiled. We sat there until the sun set with a beautiful play of colors. Amelie had calmed down and finally believed me. When we sat together in the lounge after dinner, she sat down next to me on the couch and leaned against me. So she stayed sitting all evening.

Day 48

Today we got ready to leave to hike to the Minken Bunker. The supplies in the bunker were not very large, because the Skarven Bunker had been shut down before. The remaining food was old and most of its expiration date had passed. We had to make sure that we had enough provisions left for our march to the Minken Bunker. Depending on how long we would need, we had to ration the food.

We left the bunker around noon. Actually it was too late to set off, because the days were already getting noticeably shorter. At first we planned to go as far as Asö, a small town on the coast. Maybe we could find more food there. First we had to take the road to Salthamm. Near Hästvik, there was a bridge to Salthamm which was guarded by a hunter. We avoided it by walking through the Skarven Bunker. After about half an hour walk we could already see the steeple of Salthamm church. I stopped for a moment, because I noticed that the birds were fleeing from the branches of the trees.

I had the feeling to perceive a rhythmic, dull rumble. The closer we came to the road leading to Överbysläten, the louder the noise became. When we stopped again, the ground under our feet trembled slightly, as if something very heavy was walking. We took up our weapons and walked on carefully. My nerves were strained to the breaking point. All of a sudden the subliminal rumbling turned into a thunder and a strange sound that went through my marrow and leg. I saw a movement and an orange glow on my left. Amelie was close behind me.

I carefully bent the bushes apart with my rifle barrel. Amelie was whimpering behind me. Not 100 meters away from us, a huge orange machine was stomping along the road. She was walking on two enormous legs. Between them the actual machine head was suspended, which was oblong and rectangular. On its front side you could see several sensors. Probably this machine was similarly equipped as the other machines we had seen so far. Below the huge rectangular head a Gatling machine gun with at least caliber 50 swung back and forth. I counted eight barrels. As they were still standing, the Gatling had not yet been armed.

When the beast started, we were dead in seconds. On the side of the head were mortar grenade launchers. The head swung up and down in rhythm with the machine’s footsteps. We had to get around that robot. We didn’t stand much of a chance against it. To make matters worse, the barking of some runners suddenly began. We had been ambushed. I rolled to the side as fast as lightning as the first shots rang out and sprayed dirt next to me. Luckily Amelie had also shifted gears and rolled away. I lay on my back and fired over her.

“Stay down!” I yelled so she wouldn’t run into my own yarrow of bullets.

I was able to give the runner a few hits. I drew his fire and called for Amelie to retreat into the woods. She ran off and fired at the Runner herself. Behind us there was an ominous noise and huge thundering footsteps. Thort and I ran backwards and fired at the runners. Amelie threw a hand grenade. Right between the runners. It exploded.

"Nice throw!" I yelled at her.

Then there was a high hiss and behind the bushes, fiery columns rose.

"Run, run!!" I yelled and we ran deeper into the forest. All hell broke loose behind us. Several of these mortar shells hit behind us and exploded. If we had been anywhere near such an explosion, it would have torn us apart.

We regrouped in the forest and loaded our weapons. I consulted with them. We had eight bullets left for the bazooka. We considered attacking the robot from three sides simultaneously. I thought about attacking the robot head-on with Thort. Amelie was supposed to take the robot’s tank from behind under fire. I told her not to take any risks, because I could not give her any fire protection, she would be completely on her own.

“Don’t take any risks, you hear,” I told her worried.

She nodded. I could see her fear.

"You can do it," I said to her and took her in my arms once more, then we started our action.

I told them, "if I open fire, that means fire for you as well. “Amelie shine your flashlight once, then I know you’re in position.”

She nodded and marched off. I went with Thort as well. I would be the first to open fire and take the Gatling gun under fire and put it out. Thort would then simultaneously fire the bazooka at the robot and if it was empty, he would also fire his G3 at the robot. Through the binoculars I had found out some weak points. That was the control below the head left of the Gatling. On the right side there was a sensor on the knees of the robot’s legs there were armor plates to protect the joints, if you fire them we could limit the walking ability of the robot by damaging the joints.

I slowly got into position and peered at Amelie. Thort was also already in position, the robot marched the road restlessly up and down. Further robots I could not recognize. I saw left of me the short flashing of a bright point of light, that was Amelie she was also in position.

I aimed at the Gatling when the robot stopped, I pulled the trigger and fired the first volley into her. I could see some small explosions, at the same time something exploded at the head of the robot and at its tail. My tactic had worked. I fired my magazine and watched the robot. The Gatling swung back and forth. Obviously he was confused and he didn’t know where to shoot first. I watched the shells of Amelie’s bullets hit the back of the robot. Minor explosions occurred.

The robot’s Gatling fired suddenly and a trail of large caliber projectiles stirred up the ground dangerously close to me. Dirt and stones splattered and hit my helmet. I changed position. And fired again at the robot. He had me openly visible on the screen, because suddenly grenades rose again. I could pick them up from the sky and fired a whole magazine empty.

Then I ran again between the trees. I fired again at the robot. Amelie also fired. The Gatling swung back and forth. Thort had already fired the third grenade at the robot and it was still standing. I took the Gatling under fire again. We all fired simultaneously. There was an explosion below the robot’s head and the Gatling just dangled off its mount. I immediately took the controls to the left of it and destroyed them. I reloaded.

Thort fired the I don’t know how many grenades at the robot. Each time they exploded, creating a huge cloud of embers. I took the sensor in the upper right hand corner and fired it with an ominous red glow. I crushed it to dust. I was about to take the armor plates at the joints under fire when I saw a runner running towards Amelie. I aimed at him and shot him.

Then I turned back to the robot. My thoughts were with Amelie, she crouched all alone in this dangerous fighting situation in the high grass and shot this dangerous monster. I peered with the scope and could see her reloading her rifle. A runner approached her. He was too far away for me, but Amelie had seen him. She pulled up her machine pistol and fired at the Runner who was rising in a cloud of embers. It took a load off my mind. She was doing well.

From the big robot a bigger explosion came out. Then I saw Thort shooting at the robot with his G3. I also resumed fire. The robot was throwing lightning bolts and smoking out of his head. I saw a glow on the side of the robot and took it right under the fire. In the next second there were some violent detonations. I had apparently hit the shells in the mortar before the robot could fire them. The robot stood still and did not move. I ran towards it and fired at the armor plates on the joints. They crashed to the ground. Again and again there were small explosions on the robot. When we fired all three at the same time, it exploded in a huge cloud of embers: Steel was screamed and he collapsed itself with a creeking sound

I ran to Amelie, she had jumped up too, ran towards me and waved strongly as if I should run away too. When she came closer she screamed "HUNTER, HUNTER!!" Suddenly I saw the mess in a fast run, three hunters came running down the street. I ran on to the big robot and shot at her arm machine guns. I reloaded and shot again to give Amelie some air. Thort had taken cover behind a wall on the other side of the street and shot the Hunters as well. I had good cover behind the huge robot leg.

Some heavy volleys of projectiles crashed into my position. I ducked. Amelie had made it to my position and let herself fall into cover. She was breathing heavily, but she smiled as I ducked down to face a volley. We slowly pulled back to the other side of the robot to get to Thort. My plan was to run to the church to hide inside.

I shot one of the Hunters’ arm machine guns away. Amelie fired over my shoulder. My ears were ringing. I shot the Hunter, and it exploded. The second one also collapsed in a cloud of embers. Then the three of us fired at the Hunter that was left. Amelie and I ran across the street, firing from all our pipes. I saw more Hunters running down the street. I sent Thort in the direction of the church. He was supposed to give us cover fire.

As I pulled back with Amelie towards the church portal, I fired with both hands. Amelie shot a runner who wanted to cut off our way to the portal, I was able to destroy another Hunter in the retreat. Thort made the puppets dance, that’s what he called it whenever he took the Hunter under fire with the G3 and they did a crazy dance in front of his muzzle before they exploded. Thort screamed from behind “I’ll finish you all off you bastards, come on just Hahaaaaaaaaaaa!”

He fired two-handedly in one Hand the 44 calibre Colt with which Ronja had shot herself and her child. In the other the G3. We made it into the church. Thort liked to fire the Colt he had christened "Ronjas Revenge".

Thort and I shot the last hunters that invaded us, then it got quiet again. A ghostly silence fell over Salthamm. We walked out of the church once more, safe and securing on all sides. Amelie close behind me. We examined the large robot we called Tank, in reference to the English word for Tank.

“It’s actually like a Tank on legs,” Thort said.

The sun had already set and the sky was glowing. The road was littered with smoking and burning debris. The tank brought us some 7.62 and shotgun ammo. He also had HEP grenades for the bazooka and mines on board. Also a considerable amount of caliber 44 ammunition, which I gave directly to Thort.

We took our flashlights and illuminated our positions. We tried to loot all wrecks, because we had burned quite a lot of ammunition. When we returned to the church it was already dark. We took shelter in the organ loft. We barricaded the entrances with the benches that were standing around.

I had noticed the icy breeze as we entered the church, it was late summer and autumn was approaching. It could have been the one or the other in Sweden bring another night frost with it. And in November, an icy snowstorm could come from the Arctic Circle. Then it could become bitterly cold within hours. We had to see that we found a good accommodation before the winter came up. I suggested rationing the canned food.

I wanted to share a tin of ravioli with Amelie. Once I’d heated it over the esbit cooker, Amelie ate like a bird again. After three of those noodles, she said she was full. I took the can out of her hand and fed her at least half. She also ate every spoon I shoved in her little mouth. She looked sweet with the tomato sauce on her mouth, which I scraped off with the spoon.

I warned her to eat enough and not to give up. She had to eat enough calories in the cold weather. She would need them.

"You have to eat too," she said.

So I emptied the can. We prepared for the night. I lit a few candles. It gave us a dim light. Outside the wind howled around the church and made eerie noises. I put my backpack on the wall and used it as a back support. I would sleep sitting up. I took off my helmet and put on a military cap. Then I took off my parka and spread it over me. Then I’d load up my Klaucke and relax. If I had to shoot I only had to cock the hammer and could fire directly. Thort did the same with the Colt 44 and Amelie put her Klaucke beside her. She tried to build herself a bed like I had. However, she kept her parka on. I smoked another cigarette and looked lost in thought after the smoke.

I watched Amelie. She curled up and tried to sleep. I thought about her. I hope I had not given her too much. Let her get too close to me. She sought refuge and security. Could I even give her that without giving her love. What was the difference. I believed that if I told her now that I wasn’t in love with her, it would certainly hit her. From her reaction yesterday I could interpret that there was probably much more to her than being sent home. She was probably afraid of rejection. She was afraid of loss.

Thort and I were that little bit of family and maybe I was the safe haven for her to stay in. But sometimes I just had the desire to hold this delicate bundle of people in my arms to give her some security. Was that wrong? I did not know how to classify it. I only saw her dreamy, happy smile when she got a hug from me.

Even just after we had defeated the robots, I gave her a quick hug and praised her. She was still trembling with excitement and fear but the moment I closed my arms around her the trembling stopped.

I decided to keep it that way. What could be wrong with a hug, what could be wrong with the little bit of attention she received. The feeling of being safe. After smoking a second cigarette, I closed my eyes. Thort sawed off the surrounding woods. I had already gotten used to that. Amelie slept restlessly and threw herself from side to side. She was usually a rather restful sleeper. I sank into a dreamless sleep.

Amelie tells:

After the fight, she was a mess. She enjoyed a short hug from Helldiver. She was glad to be near him again. She had misunderstood a lot of things yesterday and got involved in something that didn’t exist. She was a bit afraid of being rejected by him. She had just fallen in love with him. She liked his smile, his quiet manner. That he didn’t lose his temper yesterday, but calmly brought her back from her trip and convinced her. That he just took her in his arms and gave her the warmth she needed and which she hadn’t got so far. Especially that he listened to her and perceived her fears. She would have loved to kiss him, but she did not dare. She did not want to destroy what she had carefully built up.

She was attracted to him and had butterflies in her stomach every time he touched her. Even if he took her by the hand and helped her over a fallen tree. He was still a bit of an old-school cavalier. She couldn’t flicker on him. She wanted him to get the lion’s share of the ravioli, but he hadn’t let that get in the way, he had just fed her and shared it with her. His care that somehow seemed natural to him. When she fell down he immediately looked at her hands and asked her if she had hurt herself.

She did not get any real sleep. There was a nasty draught where she lay. A cold breeze came from somewhere and she threw herself restlessly back and forth. Finally she opened her eyes. She saw Helldiver sleeping in the semi-darkness, leaning against his backpack. He had spread his parka over himself and folded his arms underneath. On his left side a piece of the barrel of his Klaucke flashed. He breathed calmly and evenly. She loved his distinctive features, the narrow nose in his face. The reddish brown stubble of his beard. His narrow lipped mouth was slightly open. His eyes, which were something between grey and green, could look very angry but also kind. They could pierce you like spears. But they could also look at you warmly.

Next to him there was a little space, maybe she could sneak up on him and maybe lean on him to warm up a little. She wouldn’t dare to do anything more. She straightened up carefully and quietly. She tried to slide gently towards him, when she heard a rustling and a metallic click. Helldiver sat upright with the Klaucke in his hand and aimed at her. He immediately picked it up again and relaxed the weapon.

How could he have heard her in his sleep, she had been so quiet. And then, like lightning, he had the gun ready to fire. He lounged a little and whispered softly to her

“why don’t you sleep?”

“I’m cold, I’m freezing,” I whispered back. Then he lifted his parka and waved to me “Come here, I’ll warm you.”

I didn’t need to be told twice, I put my backpack next to Helldiver and wanted to lean on his shoulder, so he lifted his parka and his arm up and whispered,

"Come here!"

I should lay my head on his chest in his arm. I put my head on his chest. His uniform smelled a little like dirt, cordite, sweat and Shaving lotion. She smelled of him. He spread his parka over me and took my ice-cold left hand in his and warmed my fingers. An unprecedented feeling of happiness flowed through me. I felt his right arm in my back and how he put the parka around me so I wouldn’t freeze. I felt warm at once. It felt so good, this feeling of security. I had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t have imagined that a few minutes ago. I was fast asleep.


#30

49. Day

Helldiver tells:

Amelie had crawled into my arm that night because she was cold. I hoped Thort wouldn’t mind if I gave her this allowance. But she could choose where she went. I just didn’t want Thort to get jealous.

She was still lying there just the way she lay down. She was still holding my hand. That’s what little Arne, my little cousin, had done once when I was herding him for my aunt and he had fallen asleep in my arm, the little guy had grabbed my finger and wouldn’t let go. When he was fast asleep he had opened his tiny hand and loosened his grip. When I carefully pulled my finger away he had immediately taken hold again.

It was similar now with Amelie. I warmed her and she warmed me. I stayed lying down, because she was still sleeping. Thort got up and yawned. Then he looked over at me and laughed softly.

“She’s still asleep,” I formed with my mouth, because I didn’t want to wake her up.

But it could also be that she was already awake and only played the sleeping one to lie in my arms a little longer. She could be a little rascal sometimes. That is what I liked especially about her. All of a sudden she moved a little, let go of my hand and clasped the uniform jacket over my chest. Then she slowly opened her eyes and looked at me. Then she closed her eyes again and murmured

"just a little more, please."

She tried as hard as she could. Finally she straightened up, stretched and yawned, then I got a kiss on the cheek and a "Merci (french: thank you)" whispered in my ear.

Breakfast was small. We cooked ourselves a cup of coffee over the Esbit stove. Then we ate "Armor-plates", those are hard biscuits, which were not sweetened, or Long-lasting-bread which also had a kind of cookie shape. These were included in the EPA packages we found in the bunkers. EPA packages are a one-man emergency rations that lasted at least one day. But it was also possible to distribute them over two days. You did not have to starve to death. Amelie found it funny to press herself out of the tube of margarine onto the Armor-plate and then spread sausage over it. We got ready to leave.

We first looked around to see if there were any enemies waiting for us. Then we set off. The air was fresh in the morning and the dew lay in the meadow. In one or the other valley there was still early fog. The road to Överbysläten led over a good part over open terrain. I peered with the binoculars. At the end of the village I could see some barricades. It could be that something was waiting for us there. I urged caution. We went about three steps apart in a line of shooters. As we approached the barricade I could make out two runners.

"This is a case for me," said Amelie and took the shotgun off her shoulder.

They were orange Runners. She could wipe them out with one well-aimed shot. We squatted in the ditch and aimed at the robots. Amelie shot all three of them. We reached the barricades. It was a military camp. There were trucks in the hangar. They had a lot of ammunition in there. We were replenishing our supplies. We checked to see if there was any food left. Some EPA packages hadn’t expired. We took them all. Then we reached an intersection. The road had a turnoff towards Asö. We followed it and reached Asö in the afternoon. We were attacked by several hunters and fled into the buildings. After a long fight we defeated the hunters. We broke into a supermarket and helped ourselves to the canned food. We took ready-made pizza and lasagna with us. We only had to find a house and we found one. Amelie got her hands on the stove in the kitchen. A little later it smelled nice. We moved to the upper floor to sleep. Amelie got the couch that was upstairs. Thort and I slept on the floor.

50. Day

Before we left the place we looked around to see what kind of business there was in the village. I pointed out a lingerie store to Amelie, “You can probably get some sandals and lingerie here.” She just got a new bra because hers seemed to be falling apart. She had to wear that thing every day now. It took her a long time. While she was selecting and trying it on, we were outside guarding the store. Panties and sandals, she didn’t want. She thought that my shorts would be much more comfortable and that she would rather shuffle around in my college shoes at night.

We marched on to the Minken Bunker and reached it around noon. We entered the Villa Kaseberg and had a long fight with some hunters. They were green-painted hard nuts. But we poured them a proper drink. They had severely damaged the house, but otherwise none of us had been hurt. The house was occupied by an older officer. We found some records next to a radio. Code cards fell into our hands, too. When we looted the Hunters, we also got hold of code cards. These were meant for the bunker.

We loaded all the weapons and went into the bunker. By the evening, we had finally cleared the entire bunker. It was even bigger than the Vesslan Bunker. It was a widely ramified bunker where you could easily get lost. Accordingly large was the Weapons chamber and the pantry. The canned food was all quite new, so we had a lot of choice. The rest we wanted to explore the next day.

After the meal we sat in the canteen and had a beer, we deserved it.

51. Day

After we had inspected the bunker in detail, we found PVG 90 rifles in the armory . These were anti-tank rifles with 50 caliber ammunition. The 12.5 x 90 mm projectiles could do a lot of harm. They could penetrate a wall. Armored vehicles were also no problem for this beast. Thort laughed. Just the baby I was looking for. Thort loved big-caliber guns.

We found plenty of ammunition, too. You could go huntin’ the hunters with that. We also found a Bazooka, which is actually called the “Granategevär” in Swedish. It was in better condition than ours. We also found a lot of mines, hand grenades and HEP bullets for the bazookas. We went on another field mission, because I wanted to examine the hunter wrecks of the military hunters in detail.

Until now we only had the opportunity to recover the ammunition quickly in case of any combat and then to get out of there. I examined the wrecks and saw the armor they had. They were basically the same as the orange Hunter, but they had more ammo and stronger armor on the important parts. Since their visual modules were better armored, some of them were left intact. I disassembled them, because I wanted to try to connect them to my scope or binoculars. In the evening I tinkered with them and found a possibility. I could equip the binoculars with night vision and infrared vision. Then I had a device for infrared and X-ray vision. I managed to connect the scope of the G3 with the module. I could now switch between different sight modes.

52. - 55. Day

We looked through all the notes we had taken with us at Villa Kaseberg. As we circled the grounds, we found several bodies of civilians and members of the army in the area. We also found bodies in the bunker. Thort and I cleared them out, because they spread a beastly smell. In the camp we found several corpse bags which we used. On the square in front of the bunker hangar we built a big funeral pyre and burned the corpses. That was less work than burying them all, we would have had to dig a huge pit by hand. Afterwards we put on our gas masks, because the smell of burning was also disgusting. It was one of the worst jobs I had ever done.

56. Day

We discussed how we should continue. On the one hand, we could stay in the bunker and winter there. If we hadn’t bashed each other’s heads in until spring, that was an option, because there was enough food. Only with the fuel for the electricity production and the warm water it could come to problems if it ran out.

57. Day - 60. Day

We explored the places that surrounded us. In Käleby and Lännbacka we were involved in some firefights but we could assert ourselves. The boats we found were not suitable for a trip over the open sea. Also the places Asö, Fiskebäk, Smabadshamnen and Sillavik had nothing suitable. A crab cutter would be suitable but the machine was broken and there were no suitable spare parts for the repair. So I abandoned the idea of getting away with a boat.

According to the records we had found in the Minken Bunker, there were indications that the rest of the crew had also retreated to Hjimfäll. The PVG90 rifles turned out to be quite effective. We were also able to detonate the green-painted military hunters with a few shots. The orange Hunters only needed one well-aimed shot and they exploded.

We deliberated long and hard and then decided to march to Hjimfäll. The island is actually a holiday paradise and a popular destination in winter, as there are many ski slopes. On the mountain is the Björntunet Hotel. I assumed that there were many survivors there and that perhaps from there one could organize a resistance. We could also spend the winter there and the company of other people would do us good. We got ready to leave.

61. Day

When we left the Mink Bunker, it was early morning. The sun had not yet risen completely. We had decided to start so early, as our destination was the Nydala homestead. I knew a cave called Farstoborg near Nydala.

We had a long walk ahead of us and we might have to expect enemy contact on the way.

We walked along the coast and had reached the settlement Asö without much enemy contact. Here we met some runners. We hid at the entrance of the village. Amelie snipped the runners one by one. She had a thieving joy when she could kill the Runners with one shot.

We quickly searched some houses and took what we could use. In one of the houses at the eastern end of the village we stopped for a rest. From the balcony of the house I peered with the binoculars whether still any enemies were there.

I could see nothing. Amelie had prepared finger food the night before and distributed it. We all ate with a good appetite and were glad that we could finish the stage in the late afternoon.

As we continued on, we walked through the adjoining forest parallel to the road. I kept stopping to scout the area, as we had to walk over open fields until Nydala. I thought about going to the coast, because there the terrain was a bit more impassable, which protected us from Hunter. When we arrived at an intersection we reoriented ourselves. On the right we went to Saltholmen, on the left to Överbysläten. In this direction we had to go. But there was free field in front of us, which was interrupted by occasional groups of trees and bushes. This did not offer much cover.

We hadn’t gone far from the forest when a group of hunters came running along the road from Överbysläten. Thort had seen them first and I called out that we should all run towards the riot camp. Because the barricades were not far away. When the robots were in range Thort, Amelie and I fired the first volleys at them. I had switched to the PVG 90 and had already killed a hunter. We retreated slowly and it looked actually quite good for us. Some runners came running beside the Hunter. Thort threw a signal torch and when the Runners ran towards the torch he threw a hand grenade after them. Two of the Runners exploded. Another one was badly damaged. I had to reload frequently, because the PVG 90 had only 10 rounds in the magazine, but armor-piercing ammunition.

I disarmed three of the hunters one after the other by shooting the arm MG away. Thort did the rest. This had proven to be an effective tactic in the last days. Then the robots were up. We fired from all pipes. Amelie fought a Hunter with her submachine gun that did a twitchy dance and exploded soon after.

I also fought a Hunter and had to reload. He came menacingly close. I dropped the PVG 90 and quickly changed to the G3. With a targeted burst of fire I made it explode. I heard Thort next to me firing and yelling "Shit!!," Amelie was fighting with two runners. The robot had come dangerously close to Thort and was about to start a close combat attack on Thort.

I shot him with my G3. Normally it should have exploded long ago, Thort had already fired some shots with the PVG90. The heavy projectiles had made the robot tremble. I bent down to reload the PVG 90, Thort changed to his G3 and fired a volley.

I noticed that this robot looked different from the military ones. It didn’t have the green camouflage paint, but it was black-gray and had red wires on the side. Apparently it was more heavily armored because it was still penetrating Thort. He had already shot the armored machine gun away from him.

I had just pulled a new magazine with 10 rounds out of my ammunition bag and had aimed it at the robot, that’s when it happened. I heard the “CLACK” of the breech of Thort’s G3. The robot took a step forward. I fired and only hit him in the arm. The arm sword shot out of the sword case on the robot arm and made a cut. I only heard a gurgling sound, then I saw blood splashing in a high fountain from Thort’s headless body.

I shot the robot, something exploded on it and fell to the ground. I shot again, this time something exploded on him again, but he did not fall over, but turned towards me. He was covered all over with Thort’s blood and it ran down the robot body in thick drops. He drove with his sword after me and blood splashed into my face. As I avoided him, I saw Thort’s headless body sink to its knees. I heard shrill, penetrating, pointed screams. The robot came towards me and I had to keep shooting.

I couldn’t aim anymore because the robot was too close. So I aimed the PVG 90 at him and chased him shot after shot into his metallic body. After three more shots he finally exploded. I saw Amelie drop to her knees with eyes wide open and I thought the runner who came running behind her had hit her. I chased the last shot of my PVG 90 into his tank and it exploded.

Suddenly ticks came running through the meadow. Amelie had dropped her MP and was screaming high and shrill. I threw the PVG 90 into the grass and ripped the Klaucke out of the holster. I shot at the ticks that were approaching quickly and lured them away from Amelie.

After I had burned two magazines, they too were finished. Then suddenly another runner appeared. Amelie kneeled beside Thort’s body and screamed loudly Noooooo, Noooooo, Thoooooorth; Noooooo, her face was a single grimace.

I quickly reloaded the G3 and shot him. He had already gotten too close to Amelie, who was no longer paying attention to anything. She had gone crazy. I fired at the runner. I was so nervous that I often missed and switched to the gun again to make him completely dead. After that all I could hear was Amelie screaming. I put her submachine gun around my neck and pulled her away from Thort’s body. His head lay next to him in the grass and stared into the sky with eyes wide open and broken.

I felt her tremble, then I looked for my PVG 90, which was not far away in the grass. I let go of Amelie and picked up the rifle and loaded it quickly, then I loaded my G3 as well. Amelie looked terrible. She had her eyes wide open, shaking and twitching uncontrollably. She was hyperventilating and screaming with every breath she took. I grabbed a magazine for her machine gun and yelled at her

"Amelie, we have to get out of here, do you hear me? We have to get out of here!"

She just stared and screamed. I pulled her up and put her on my shoulder. She must have weighed something like 100 pounds. I had her MP and my G3 on my back so that I could shoot with it if necessary. I ran, and a little further away was a grove of trees. I ran towards it, Amelie hanging over my shoulder like a dangle doll. The screaming had turned into loud sobbing.

My lungs were burning and my legs were getting heavier. But we had to leave. Who knows what else is coming up now. I stopped at the grove of trees. I looked around briefly, took a breath, then I ran on with Amelie on my shoulders. My next target was a group of erratic blocks. When I reached them I was exhausted. I breathed heavily, I felt my legs cramping.

“For heaven’s sake, anything but that,” I thought.

About 200 yards away was a crumbling shed and a small wall. It offered some cover. I ran over there and let Amelie off my shoulder. She sank down, shaking and trembling. She had gone into a severe state of shock. She started to cry and was shaken by chills. I put her in the grass and lay down beside her. Then I looked around with binoculars. I switched to infrared and couldn’t see a thing. There was nothing on our heels.

The day was coming to an end because it was already getting dusky. Amelie trembled and shook, her eyes were wide open, she had foam at the mouth. I pulled her backwards into the corner of the crumbling shed and held her firmly in my arms. I could already see the sea. We were not safe yet. I saw something like a boathouse in the distance. We would be safe there.

I said, "Amelie, Amelie, can you walk, do you hear me, can you walk, can you walk?"

She didn’t answer me. She shook, trembled and twitched. Her mouth was open. Out of her wide open eyes looked the sheer horror, the sheer madness. She was in shock. I didn’t get through to her. I took her back on my shoulder and ran.

Breathing heavily, I finally reached the coast and the boathouse. With my last ounce of strength, I dragged myself in there, then I put Amelie down. She was trembling and still trembling. I laid down my arms. Then I sat down, put Amelie in a high sitting position as well and pulled her towards me. I held her close. I pressed my face against hers. I wanted to use the physical contact to build a bridge for her back from shock to the real world. I stroked her hair. Swayed her slightly.

I said, "Easy, Amelie; easy shhh, shhh, easy."

I spoke slowly and clearly. I felt that the quake subsided and turned into trembling, I couldn’t think of anything better than singing “Stairways to heaven” to her slowly and carried. I felt her hand, which had hung limply down, digging into my jacket. Clinging to me. Then she took a deep breath and let out a long scream that turned into sobbing.

Then she cried, her head buried in my chest. The sobbing calmed down slowly and turned into a whimper. I tried one more time and said

"Amelie, can you hear me? We have to go. Can you walk, can you walk?"

I spoke slowly and clearly. She nodded and detached herself from me and looked at me, her eyes still open, but I couldn’t see the madness anymore.

"Can you walk Amelie?

A long, tortured "Yeeeeaaaa" followed.

I pulled her up to her legs. Then we went off and I grabbed her hand and pulled her behind me. She just ran after me. I heard her sobbing and crying behind me. Finally we reached Nydala. I ran with her into the house. When we reached the upper floor I looked for the bedroom and put her on a bed. Then I put down my weapons. She clung to me. I took her in my arms again immediately. She clung to me and sobbed heartbreakingly.

After a while, she said, "Will you go get him?"

"Who, Thort?"

“Yes, she cried. Go get him, please, please, please, please, get him here. We can’t leave him out there. Please, please, please get him. We have to bury him.”

I thought about how to get Thort here. He was a good guy, head taller than me, weighed at least 200 pounds. Then I remembered this house belonged to a homestead. There had to be a wheelbarrow somewhere, so I could bring him here.

I told Amelie not to stick her nose out of the door, not to move from the spot and above all not to turn on the light. I gave her the MP back. I took only the bare minimum of ammunition. Then I checked the barn and found a wheelbarrow. It squeaked a little. I drizzled some gun oil on the bearing, and it ran quietly after that. Then I set off.

The night was dark, although we should have had a crescent moon, but he was hiding behind a cloud bank.

In the distance the weather was shining. I pulled up a tuft of grass and threw it up so I could see the wind direction. The storm was coming towards me. Next to me in the tree sat a little codger and whistled its scary hoo-hoo-hoo-hooo. An owl scurried along the forest path like a shadow and looked at me from big, eerily yellow shining eyes. I was scared to death when I draw my Klaucke out of the holster and breathed a sigh of relief.

I had observed that the robots did not run around in such a storm. I reached the battlefield. Lightning flashed in the night and illuminated the area. In the faint light I could see the bodies of the hunters and runners, which lay like dark hills in the meadow. I did not dare to shine the flashlight. I took my time and looted the robots. The one that had killed Thort supplied HEP shells for the Granatgevär in addition to the usual ammunition. Again and again lightning flashed and thunder rumbled. I had to hurry.

I found Thort’s headless body lying in the meadow. I thought about how I would get him onto the wheelbarrow. I cut off some of the robot’s wires and tied them together into a string. I put the wheelbarrow overturned. I put on Thort’s body, pushed the wheelbarrow firmly into his back. Then I tied him to the wheelbarrow with the cables. My idea worked. I could slowly lift Thort’s body up. I pulled him even further onto the wheelbarrow. Then I looked for his head. In the lightning of the approaching thunderstorm he looked scary. Finally, I took his head and put it in his lap. His eyes were still staring into the black sky. I pushed him the eyes close. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled quite soon after. I had to leave. With all that iron on the meadow on the open plain, lightning could strike easily. I pushed the wheelbarrow with Thort’s corpse through the meadow and reached the road, panting heavily.

My stomach revolted and I had to swallow violently once or twice not to throw up. My uniform was full of blood. I looked as if I had just slaughtered an animal. I secured all sides, peered with binoculars into the dark night. I searched first with residual light intensifier, then in the infrared. The air was clear.

Suddenly heavy rain set in, lightning flashed accompanied by heavy thunderclaps. I pushed the wheelbarrow as fast as I could. I was wet to the bone and froze, the wind blew cold and whipped the rain into my face. The lightning illuminated the creepy scenery. I used the road, because I didn’t believe that I would meet a robot. I walked at a run. Shortly before Nydala I stopped once more completely pumped out and looked around. There was nothing to see, my legs ached. It was raining cats and dogs, maybe my luck, otherwise I would have run into a Hunter patrol and their guns. Then I marched the last bit.

The rain stopped when I reached Nydala. I breathed again. Amelie came out of the house, saw the wheelbarrow and vomited in a high arch. Her delicate body was shaken with convulsions. When the gag reflex subsided, she asked how we should bury him. I said the best thing would be to take the boat that was lying down by the dock. Make him a bed of wood and brushwood, lay him on it, cover him with brushwood, pour petrol over it and set fire to it so he burns. A real Viking funeral.

"Isn’t this how we lure the robots in? She asked.

“I hope not, because I’ll give the boat a good push and it’ll float out to sea.”

I told Amelie to siphon gas from the car. I showed her how to do that. Then I took Thort to the jetty. I laid him down on the jetty and put his head in the right place. Then I drove back to the house, picked up a few loads of logs and brushwood. It was still a nice piece of work to get Thort into the boat. Fortunately Amelie did not have to watch this. When I finished, he lay in the boat like he was sleeping. I had put a scarf around his neck so we couldn’t see the cut. Amelie put flowers around him that she had picked.


#31

someone make a animation of this or make this into a book because it amazing.


#32

Hello Cazyhawk505

The script for this story is ready, but i wrote it first in my native language. Now I’m still working on the translation. While I do this precise with translator programs, reversal translation and correctional reading it took a little time.
At the moment you are in the half of the story and much other things will coming up soon. I hope you like the End of the story.
If that would be turned into an Animee that would be great. Turning it into a book on paper or as
E-book. That story in Comic style would also be great but I’m not so a good drawer. That is somewhat for a graphics designer.

In the next days will come up more so stay tuned and i hope you enjoy al this. :fountain_pen::smiley:


#33

Day 62

In the light of dawn we were finished and looked at our work. Amelie cried quietly. I said a prayer for him, then I said,

"We have to say goodbye now." Amelie nodded

"Adieu Thort mon ami, faire du bien (french goodbye Thort, my friend, do it well)

“Adieu sobbed she.”

She knelt down and stroked Thort’s cheek

Adieu mon amie (Franz goodbye my friend).

I helped Amelie up, then I covered the brushwood over Thort until a big pile lay on him and he could no longer be seen. Then I took a bunch of brushwood and poured it with gasoline. I poured the rest over the brushwood heap that lay over Thort.

I jumped into the water. It reached me up to the thighs and was freezing cold. Amelie gave me the torch. I threw it in the middle of the boat and pushed it vigorously so that it could drift out to the open sea. The brushwood heap immediately caught fire and burned brightly. I got out of the water.

Then Amelie and I stood on the jetty in the light of the rising sun. The boat burned to its full extent and continued to drift. I had put my arm around her shoulders. She leaned her head against my shoulder and cried holdless. As she sobbed, I asked her if we could go. She asked where. I told her we would best go back to the Minken Bunker and stay there for a few days to recover.

“Is that OK for you?”

She nodded, then we walked along the coast. I had taken most of her luggage from her, so she only had to carry her MP. She ran with her arms crossed in front of her chest. She sniffed and sobbed all the way. My mood wasn’t any better i had a lump in my throat all day and struggled to hold back my tears. We both were in a bad way .

My uniform was wet. In the cold wind I froze and also the movement gave me little warmth. I was hungry and I was tired out. Of course, Amelie was tire out too, and she was weakened by the grief. I noticed this in their slow steps. On the last piece I put my arm around her middle to pull her along a little bit. She held on to me. Towards the evening we finally reached the Minken Bunker. She just took off her jacket and dropped on one of the beds. I took off her boots, then I took off my wet stuff. Amelie slept tightly. She shrugged, she certainly had nightmares.

I sat down in the canteen taking some cans of beer that I put on the table in front of me, opened one and drank it empty in one go. I lit a cigarette and drank another can. The alcohol calmed me down slowly, but the horrible, creepy pictures didn’t go out of my head.

Suddenly I heard a high, pointed cry

" Helldiver, Helldiver, where are you, Helldiver, Helldiver."

I immediately jumped up and ran to the bedroom. Amelie approached me screaming loudly on socks.

"What is?" I asked her.

“Helldiver,” she cried with all one’s strength.

“Don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone, please, don’t leave me alone!” She clung to me. Then I pulled her back to the bedroom, because I wanted to make sure that no Tick in the room had crept through the air shafts.

“Helldiver leave me not alone. Oh please, please don’t leave me alone, don’t leave me alone, please, please.” Amelie cried miserably.

I took her in my arms and tried to calm her down. She clung tightly to me. I held her and went to the canteen with her. There I gently placed her on a chair, sat next to her and held her in my arms. Her shoulders shrugged. She probably had as bad pictures as I in her head that she didn’t get rid of. She was traumatized. I held her in my arms for a long time and gently weighed her.

I was so dog-misery, I was tired. But couldn’t sleep and Amelie apparently couldn’t either. Even when I gave her a can of beer, came no fatigue. I resorted to the last resort. I turned a cigarette out of my tobacco and put a little bit of grass in it. I just made us a Joint. When I smoked it on, she pulled also at it, she just meant the cigarette tastes different than usual. I just told her it was special.

After two three puffs, I noticed her speaking more slowly and her eyes falling shut again and again. The stuff showed its effect. I had only made one very light, but since she had probably not smoked the dirty stuff, it had a special effect on her. He also worked on me and I noticed that fatigue was descending over me. I took Amelie in my arms. She put her arm around my neck. I carried her to bed I could see she was High. But she slept, this time quieter. I just took off my boots and shirt. I kept my pants and T-shirt on. Then I put a bed beside next to her and lay down. I took her hand and held it so that when she woke up, She realized I was still there. Then I slept deep and dreamless.

Day 63

I woke up, something was lying on my chest and tickled my chin. When I lifted my head, I saw that Amelie had put her head on my chest in her sleep. She had probably noticed that I had moved and she raised her head. She looked at me out of puffy eyes. Her face was smeared. We had just fallen so into bed just as we had arrived in the bunker after the march. She sat up, stretched her arms in the air and yawned. Her face slowly relaxed. I also sat up and yawned.

"How long have we slept?" she asked.

I looked at my watch indicating 13:25.

“I think a whole night and half a day".

In the bunker you quickly lost the sense of time because the rhythm was missing through the daylight.

I slept like death," she said yawning.

"And you," she asked.

"Also," I replied succinctly.

“I don’t know how I got to bed, I just remember sitting in the canteen, drinking beer and smoking. The cigarette tasted just so weirdly sweet. After that, like a film crack, I only know that the world suddenly went dark. And I don’t really know what happened after the fight. I can only remember that we walked past the Sea.”

"Well, I carried you to bed. You were folded up in the canteen," I said.

"You smoked a little grass. I built a joint for us. I couldn’t help myself to get rid of these horrible pictures. I thought it would be just as bad for you. And then I blow away the pear from both of us.”

She got a little closer to me and put her hand in my neck and gently stroke my hair.

"You are a little Filou (French. crooks"), but a lovely one."

She smiled weakly. From her gaze still saw the grief for our friend.

"I hope that was OK. for you, that I have laid down beside you. You were so panicked and so scared to be alone and I thought that if you feel me it will calm you down. I hope I wasn’t too much on your pelt.” She drew me to her and put her forehead on mine.

"You did exactly the right thing, Helldiver. It was so nice to lie with you. It was so soothing and warm. Hopefully I wasn’t too much on your pelt.” Said she smiling.

"No," I replied, smiling back.

I put an arm around her shoulders and pressed her to me, pressing my face on hers.

“That’s fine,” she sighed.

We sat for a while as we held each other. Then I asked her

“what do you think of a coffee?"

“That’s what I could kill for now,” she said.

While she made fresh in the bath room; I cooked coffee. She came wrapped in a bath towel on my flat college shoes in the canteen. Since I borrowed her in the Salthamm bunker she wore them again and again. She obviously loved to shuffle around with them. She sat on a chair, put her legs on and put her bare feet on the seat. She drank thirsty at the coffee mug I handed her. She looked much better than before. Her face wasn’t so puffy anymore, and her eyes looked better.

She asked me what actually happened after Thort was beheaded. She could only remember the many blood and the terrible moment Thort fell over. Tears ran down her cheeks, but she quickly recovered. As I filled her memory gaps, she slapped her hand in front of her mouth and kept saying

"mon dieu, mon dieu."

"Was I really so bad at it?"

I confirmed it.

"And you poor one carried me off. And you brought Thort too?"

She jumped on slipped into the college shoes and circled the table. Then she sat down on my lap and pressed herself on me.

"What did you poor go through? But thank you, thank you that there is you. Without you, I would have been lost."

She looked me firmly in the eye, hers where glassy, her mouth trembling. Then she cried again and pressed herself firmly on me. I let her. After a while she broke away from me and pressed another gentle kiss on my cheek.

“I’m going to get ready.”

I cleaned up and made us a few baked beans hot. Amelie came in underwear, she was still wearing my shorts and a T-shirt from me. I looked at her in amazement and she said,

“What, you’ve seen me in it so many times.”

“Yes, i said it’s just unfamiliar,”

I replied. She shooed me out of the kitchen with the words,

"Off, in the shower with you! I’m doing the rest here.”

I let the warm water in the shower bounce on me. It relaxed me. At one point, it knocked on the door. Amelie called

"We can eat!"

I dried myself and dressed again. Then I went to the canteen. We ate in silence. Afterwards we sat, drank beer and smoked. We didn’t speak much, we both tried to process the horrible experience. Each one for himself.

The robots had kicked us in the ass.

At one point, Amelie squeezed out her cigarette and said,

“I’m going to bed, are you coming with me?”

I was also tired and went with her. When I wanted to remove my bed from her, she looked at me with a frown and said,

“Hallo, what’s the point of that? You don’t want to lie next to me anymore.”

"I uuhhmm I, I wanted, I thought…" I stammered. "

“Oh non, non my dear one. Lay next to me again please. I don’t bite you and it’s cold in the bunker."

I nodded and pushed my bed back to hers. I stripped off my boots and wanted to put myself to bed with the military pants, and she said again,

“Oh no, you can take off your pants. Don’t be so coy, I’ve seen you so many times in underwear. I don’t faint,” she said, smiling at me.

She slipped into her bed and stretched out her arms at me as I took off my pants.

"Come on," she said. I lay down next to her. She took my left hand, turned to her right side and wrapped my arm around her. She put her face on my back of my hand. She pressed her back firmly on me.

"May I?" she asked

I asked, "What?"

"Warm my cold feet with you."

"Yes why not," I said to her, it was all new. I had always been alone in bed and now with a young woman. But it felt strangely good to me. She squeezed her really ice-cold, petite feet between my lower legs.

Then she sighed and said, “Aaaaaaach is good. So nicely warm. Now I’m not afraid of anything anymore. Good night Helldiver.” I also wished her a good night. She fell asleep relatively quickly. It was really nice to have this delicate woman in my arm, to feel her warm body on my. Her calm breaths and warmth also lulled me in, so I fell into deep sleep.

  1. Day

The next morning I woke up and noticed that we were still lying there like we were in the evening when we went to bed. I wanted to carefully pull my arm, which she had wrapped around her, away from her, their she was lolling and said

“Oh non, s’il vous plaît, faites un peu plus de câlins,” a little drowsy (French: Oh, no, please cuddle a little more)

“What is it? What do you want?” I asked, because I didn’t understand French

"Please a little bit more cuddle." She still said, still sleep-drunken.

I pulled her a little closer, which she acknowledged with a sigh of pleasant.

After a while, while I was also dozing a little, she turned to me, pressed me on my back and let go of my left arm. She laid her head on my chest and sighed with pleasure. I saw that her eyes were open.

“This is how I’m going to lie here all day, and you have to stay here.”

I laughed. Then she raised her head and put it in her left hand. She looked just sweet with her tousled hair spacing out in all directions.

“You’re the first man lay with me in bed,” she said with a smile.

The sweet dimples I liked so much on her appeared again in her cheeks.

"You should be proud of that."

"Well, did you like it?" I asked. She put her head back on my chest, lolling a little and said

“OOuuuiii” (french yeah). It feels so good, it’s so nice, I don’t want to get up again."

She scratched my breast a little with her left hand. I could see her face. She smiled happily. I smiled too, it felt really good. After a while I asked her

“Don’t you like coffee or cocoa?”

She raised her head and put her chin on my chest.

"Then one of us must stand up."

I told her that I would do that and suggested that we have breakfast in bed. She smiled impishly and said

"Then you may go, but hurry back."

I only asked for coffee or cocoa, but she wanted coffee. I went to the canteen and made coffee, browned slices of toast, put jam and butter on a tray. Then I carefully went back to the bedroom with the things. She smiled as I entered the bedroom and sat up in bed. She stretched out her arms to take the tray from me. Then I sat down next to her on the bed. We drank coffee. Amelie spread butter and jam on the toast slices and made me bite again and again. And she giggled. When we had finished breakfast, her spirits had been awakened and she said

“Come, let’s get dressed and then we’ll go out to Villa Kaseberg. I need some fresh air.”

I agreed with her, because we could use a little fresh air. We took our rifles and left the bunker through the hangar that was near Villa Kaseberg. Above the villa, there was a ruined castle. I secured the area around it. When I could see that there were no enemies nearby, we sat down in the high grass.

We enjoyed the warm sun of the late summer afternoon and smoked in silence. Although the day had begun so beautifully, the terrible ghosts came back slowly and on quiet soles. All the horrors I had seen on my long journey. The dead bodies in Yttervik, the bodies of my friends as I had buried them, Ronja who had shot herself and her child in supreme despair. Her parents who had been cruelly murdered and now Thort’s cruelly dead.

Amelie asked me

"Why are you so quiet Helldiver?"

I could only tell her that the terrible images were coming back and then all the dams broke, the howling misery overwhelmed me. I could only cry out my pain and sorrow in one single outcry.

"I… I… I… have seen the horror." I said to her…

"the horror, sobbed I… the horror!"

She looked at me with eyes wide open in horror, then she spread her arms and pressed my face to her chest. I cried like a little child. She stroked my hair and spoke softly and softly to me. She cradled me and gave me all her warmth to comfort me.

“Helldiver,” she breathed “Helldiver, you poor Loup solitaire (French: lonesome wolf), you are not alone. I am here and I am your girlfriend you can talk to me about anything, share your pain with me I may not be as strong as you, but I’m here and I’m with you.”

I stood up and looked at her. She had tears in her eyes too, her lips twitched. She bent over and kissed the tears from my cheeks. Then she laid her face against mine and gently caressed my neck.

“I’m here for you Helldiver, let it all out, it will help you, you have been through so much. You’re always the strong man, even now.”

She put her forehead against mine and looked deep into my eyes. She was closer to me than ever before. I slowly calmed down and regained my composure.

The sun was setting. towards the horizon. I looked around carefully, there were no robots around.

“Let’s go back,” I said.

Amelie took me by the hand and we walked back. When we arrived at the bunker, I said to Amelie

"I need a full droning today. I want to get drunk, listen to some hard music and smoke a joint, I need it now."

I was looking for my tapes, and put THE DOORS on. Amelie came in with an armful of beer cans, ripped one open and gave it to me, then took one herself and bumped into me

"Santé (French Cheers), on Thort!"

"To Thort!" I answered her and we both drank the can in one go.

As Jim Morrison sang "The End" in his dreamy voice, I made the first puffs from my Joint. As Amelie was going to smoke a puff of it, I told her

“Be careful and don’t blow your brains out.” She said…

“I’ll be careful.” The colours became more intense, the vibrations of the music, you could suddenly feel tones, I felt light and exhilarated.

When Nirvana, AC/DC and Metallica made the walls shake, we both danced wildly and ecstatically, each on our own. When we had emptied several cans of beer and started to trip over our own feet, we staggered arm in arm to bed. We were totally High. She curled up again like the night before, then I fell asleep, the ghosts were gone.

  1. Day

At some point I noticed that I was turned on my back. I was half asleep. It was warm and comfortable, I blinked and wanted to know what was pushing me around. It was Amelie, who was obviously still half asleep. Her hair was standing confusedly away from her head. She had pressed her cheek to my chest and held me in her arms and pressed me against her like a cuddly pillow.

I had to smile because she looked so cute. I looked at her sleeping face, her small, delicate nose, her long lashes. Her beautifully curved, narrow-lipped mouth which was a fine pink colour. Everything about her was so delicate. Her fingers were thin, almost fragile. She had beautiful, well-proportioned hands. It was strangely familiar that she was lying on my chest. It was very pleasant to feel her. She smiled in her sleep and she had those dimples in her cheeks again that I loved to see on her.

Am I began to fall in love, I suddenly asked myself. This feeling was completely new to me. I had never been in love with a girl before. Okay, at school I knew a few girls. We’d meet in a disco, dance together, have a few drinks. Drove them perhaps home. I liked one or two girls and was glad to be in their company. But nothing was wrong with me when they weren’t there.

Amelie was different. I missed something when she wasn’t near me. Even if it was only a fleeting touch sometimes, but if she didn’t put her hand on my shoulder at least once a day, or took me by the hand, or put her hand around my shoulders just once, then something was missing.

And now this physical closeness. I really enjoyed it.

"Am I then in love," I asked myself.

She’s been near me for a long time. She always walked behind me when we were outside. Ever since the Salthamm Bunker, she kept forgetting her cigarettes when we were out on a mission. She always came up to me to ask for a cigarette. She also liked chocolate, especially when it came out of my pocket. It wasn’t like we had to be careful with it. There were plenty of chocolate bars in the bunker, and she could have pocketed enough for herself. I had put some in her backpack before an outreach mission. But that was not the same.

The chocolate probably tasted better when it came out of my bag. Not to mention my college shoes. They were at least six sizes too big for her. But I guess she loved to shuffle around the bathroom in them and she liked to wear them a lot. We’d been through so many small towns, we could have stocked up on lingerie or sandals. She didn’t want that, she said my shorts were more comfortable than panties.

I gently embraced her hips and put my hand on her back. Her T-shirt had slipped up a bit and my hand was on her naked skin. She felt wonderfully soft. She lolled comfortably purring.

“Hmmmmmm, that’s nice” she cooed and purred almost like a cat.

"Hold me a little longer, please" she purred with closed eyes.

She crawled my breast with her left hand. She smiled again. Then she sighed

“I’ll never get up again.” She opened her eyes, lifted her head up a little, and dropped it right back onto my chest.

“You see, it doesn’t work, I have to lie down,” she laughed mischievously.

Then she looked up again.

"Did I wake you up, have you been lying awake long?"

“Maybe five minutes ago, I don’t know, I dozed again,” I said.

"Do you feel better now?" she asked.

"Yes, much better. I think I still have some led in my bones. Must have been one beer too many yesterday after all.

“One,” she laughed, “I have never drunk so much beer in my whole life. And I’ve never smoked pot either. But you’re right, you shouldn’t take too much of it.”

"A little bit makes you feel happy, but more is the opposite is true. You shouldn’t take it too much. You get hooked, that’s the danger.

"And are you addicted?" she asked.

She had put one hand on my chest and rested her chin on it. She looked at me with her dark brown, almost black eyes.

"I sometimes don’t smoke this stuff for months, which for me is like drinking a good wine or eating something special.

“Or if you’re very sad,” she said.

"Yes, even then it can help you," I replied.

"How are you?" I asked.

“I’m just fine. I haven’t slept as well as I have in the last few days. That’s only because you’re lying with me. Can you sleep at all? I don’t move around too much, disturbing you.”

she had her face on the side, still looking at me with a smile.

“No, it’s all right. I’m not used to it, you know. I’ve never been in bed with a woman before. But it’s very nice.”

I gently stroked her shoulder with one finger. She lay still and enjoyed the touch. She closed her eyes and rubbed her pretty face against my chest, smiling blissfully. Then she reached out one arm and gently stroked my hair. We lay there for quite a while, dozing a little and lying awake. We enjoyed the warmth we gave each other. At some point we got up. We got dressed, took our weapons and went outside. We walked through the beautiful nature of Sweden and enjoyed the last warm sunrays of late summer.

    1. And 68. Day

We did the same thing every day. We slept until we woke up. Often tightly wrapped. So we woke up in the morning. We healed each other’s spiritual wounds. We held each other, we walked a lot in the vicinity of the bunker. We were lucky and we had no contact with the enemy.

We once saw a group of hunters patrolling in the distance. We retreated and kept calm. So they just moved on. We enjoyed the beautiful weather. Sometimes we lay arm in arm in the grass for hours. Mostly in the castle ruins near Villa Kaseberg. From here we could see far across the country and were protected as far as possible from possible attacks. Often we walked hand in hand or we embraced each other in the middle.

Amelie picked berries at the edge of the forest. She knew about mushrooms and picked champions and chanterelles. While she was picking, I watched and peered out with binoculars. I scanned the area with x-rays and infrared. We found a homestead nearby. There were chickens running around the grounds, apparently feeding themselves. Amelie went out to look for eggs and found some. She carefully placed them in her combat bag. In the bunker, she made a delicious mushroom omelet. She made a delicious tart from the berries she brought with her. I licked all ten fingers for it. It didn’t seem fitting for a spoiled brat of a rich family. She was very domesticated, especially when it came to cooking little goodies. I asked her about it and she answered me

“I often went to my Grand mere (French grandmother) in the country. Grand mere taught me everything about cooking and baking. Also how to pick mushrooms and berries. I can even make jam. My Maman can’t do all that. I can even slaughter and pluck a chicken.”

When she said that, she laughed diabolically. I think she had the chickens on the farm in mind.

“My friends from school can’t do all that. They’re all styled goats.”

With special emphasis on the “goats”. Thort had often called her a goat. I think it was more Thort’s teasing she had to put up with. At the beginning I thought she was a willful, frightened bimbo at first, too. Such a Fashion Dolly. I had but fundamentally misled me. After some initial friction we had, she had changed a lot. I had to realize that she is a smart, very loving young woman. She wasn’t very well versed technically, but if you took her by the hand, she understood very quickly. She had courageously fought her fears and faced them. Her panic in front of the hunters had completely left her behind.


#34
  1. Day

I got more and more restless. We had often thought about whether we should just stay. Of course, she didn’t feel like exposing herself to the deadly danger of another hike. But I countered that the winters in Sweden were very cold and very long. And the cool breeze of the approaching autumn announced the winter that was to come. At some point we would run out of fuel for the generator. And the heating in the bunker left a lot to be desired. Often we, mostly me, woke up with a cold nose. Amelie had warmed hers with me.

  1. Day

My restlessness increased. Because the longer we waited, the more difficult our journey would be. I wanted to go to Hjimfäll to find out if there were any other survivors. If not, we could still visit the Märden Bunker or, alternatively, the Sorken Bunker. This would mean that we would have to fight our way out of the bunker, but we were confident that we would succeed. My main argument was that if we didn’t leave soon, the journey in winter could be even more difficult and maybe even more dangerous, because the winters in Sweden are very dark, in southern Sweden the sun only shines for a few hours. Apart from the cold. We would have to leave the bunker sometime if we ran out of fuel. Then there was no electricity and also no more heating. After long back and forth Amelie agreed.

  1. Day

We were preparing to leave. We took care of our weapons. We replenished our ammunition from the bunker’s stores. We stockpiled our provisions. We would make another attempt to reach Nydala first. And if all went well, we would leave for Östervik the next day. Amelie prepared small morsels which we could put into our supply bags. She had baked delicious little pancakes from the milk she had milked from the cow that was roaming the farm and the eggs. We put them into our panniers.

  1. Day

Today we started our journey. I turned off the generators and the heating. I locked the bunker doors when we left the bunker through the hangar near Villa Kaseberg. We walked side by side. We agreed that we would both go forward left. We went side by side We agreed that we both should go forward but one of us should secure the left flank and the other the right flank. We decided not to engage in any fights. Unless it was inevitable.

We had already walked a good distance when we heard shots. But we also heard the thundering step and the calls of a tank. The call of a tank sounded strangely more like the loud mooing of a cow. Not as predatory as a hunter. I just looked at Amelie, and she said right up.

"Come on, it sounds like someone’s struggling desperately. “A machine gun versus a Tank will only make things worse.”

We started running right away. We stopped in between to get our orientation. But the sounds always came from the same direction. I looked at the map and saw the Arneröd farm near us.

"Let’s go there first and see what’s going on from there,” I said.

Soon Arneröd appeared in front of us and the sounds of battle came closer and closer. We jumped from cover to cover until we finally reached the homestead.

We took position in the barn. The noise of the fighting got louder. I got the bazooka ready to fight and gave it to Amelie. I myself took the PVG 90 and loaded it with armor-piercing ammunition. We could see the tank in the distance. We also saw a person who kept shooting at the tank and trying to escape.

"The best thing is to lure the tank to the yard and lay a cordon of mines in front of it." I said

We worked fast. Then we lined up and tried to attack the tank from two different angles.

“Amelie, when he fires his rockets, run into the house fast, you hear. Don’t take any risk.”

"Neither do you!" she said.

I gave her a signal and she fired an EMP round at the tank. This paralysed the tank for a short time. It gave me time to fire at important places. She immediately reloaded and fired a second bullet. This gave air to the person which retreated wildly firing in our direction. I fired the PVG 90 at the MG Pod of the tank. After about 8 shots the machine gun crashed to the ground. Then I shot the control unit which was under the main control. The big robot was sending out lightning and smoking from its "head". I fired away the armor of his joints, that caused some explosions again.

The person came running towards us. The tank chased him with thunderous steps. Amelie fired another rocket. This time a HEP projectile. I fired at his missile launchers to disable them.

I waved at the person to be careful with the mines. We retreated and lured the tank into the mine belt. I called Amelie to retreat. I did the same. The person, I could tell it was a dark-skinned man, ran after Amelie. I fired a few more shots at the tank.

By then he was getting close to the first mine. It exploded with a tremendous noise. The tank staggered. The next step of this two-legged monster made three mines explode at once. It passed away thunderously in a huge cloud of embers, debris flew around, groaning and creaking it collapsed.

Then some tics appeared. I attacked them with the machine gun. Two runners were killed by Amelie, who had meanwhile switched back to the machine pistol.

"Wow, thank you both. You are more powerful than an entire army. Thousand thanks. You saved my ass."

Turns out he was an American soldier. During a NATO maneuver with the Swedish army, his platoon got chewed up by the robots. He was the only survivor.

"Man, the heavens have sent you both. I think the monster would have finished me off if you hadn’t come. His gun only had about 20 rounds left in the Magazine. He was a Marine, they’re highly trained soldiers, true fighting machines. When he realized Amelie was a woman, he walked up to her and kissed her hand with perfect form. Amelie turned a little red.

He saluted me and said “Staff Sergeant Jim Henderson.”

"Helldiver" I introduced myself.

"Wow," he said, "the way you kicked that tin bucket in the ass, you deserve that name. Are you two Army?"

“No,” I answered, “we’re civilians.”

His uniform looked pretty banged up and ripped.

"How long you been on the road?" I asked.

“About three or four weeks. We tried to build a bridgehead after the invasion started, but it didn’t work out. The machines came from all sides. I was the only one who survived. Say, have you got anything to eat?”

"Of course;" I said, "we can camp at the farm."

We settled down at the farm and gave Jim some of our pancakes. He ate hungry. He asked us what we are about going to do. We told him. He asked us if he could go with us. We didn’t object. Amelie asked if it would be better to go back to the Minken Bunker where Jim could rest, get a new uniform and weapons. I agreed. Weary as Jim looked, he could probably use a hot shower and a warm bed. We hit the road. In the evening the hangar of the Minken Bunker appeared in front of us.

When we arrived at the bunker, the first thing I did was give Jim a new uniform. He had no problem with the fact that it was a Swedish uniform. Then I gave him towels and soap so he could take a shower. I also made up a bed in the dormitory for him and covered it fresh while Jim showered. Amelie had made a hearty stew in the kitchen. Jim was overjoyed when he came out of the shower freshly showered and dressed. He beamed all over his face as Amelie ladled a plate of steaming stew for him.

“Hey, that’s good, what is that?” he asked as he spooned.

“That’s stirred together from different stews. Whatever’s in stock,” Amelie replied.

"Well, Bunker Gumbo," Jim replied.

"Bunker Gumbo?" repeated Amelie.

"Yes, Bunker Gumbo, where I come from in Louisiana, a stew is called Gumbo, and since the stew here is made from ingredients found in a bunker, Bunker Gumbo," Jim said with a laugh.

He ate with a good appetite.

“Hmm, it tastes good,” he said, chewing. “That’s really tasty. I haven’t had anything real for I don’t know how long, and I haven’t had anything warm either. Making a fire outside at night is much too dangerous, the bots see you at once. So what, you don’t find too much in the houses either. Some food has expired, eating it is a risk,” Jim said.

“Well, we’ll just call the stew Bunker Gumbo,” said Amelie laughing.

Jim asked for a second helping, he was pretty starved. When Amelie cleaned up, I took three cans of beer from the fridge and put one down for Jim, and the other for Amelie. Jim was making big eyes.

"Boy, oh, boy, did the sky pick you. “The big robot had me by the balls, and if you hadn’t shown up, he would’ve kicked my ass. And now I’m freshly showered, I’ve got fresh clothes on, I’ve eaten my fill and I’ve got a cold beer on the table. I think I’ve gone to heaven. Thank you both so much again.”

“You’re welcome, Jim,” I said, toasting him.

"What are you doing?" Jim asked.

“We’re going to the island of Hjimfäll, two days’ walk northeast of us. There are said to be other survivors there and they have barricaded themselves in a hotel. We’ve been following some leads for survivors for the past few weeks. Actually there should be survivors here too. But we are always too late. Either they’re all gone or they’ve all been killed. We also lost our friend about two weeks ago,” I said.

Jim asked "how did that happen?"

"We got into a firefight with some hunters. Thort was decapitated by one of the hunters. We both had barely made it back," I replied.

"What is a Hunter?" Jim asked.

"A Hunter is a robot that looks like a human and walks on two legs. The thing that had you wrapped around it was a tank, and they’re deadly dangerous and hard to fight alone. Especially not in open terrain,’ I continued.

"Tomorrow I will explain the robot types to you. I found blueprints of some of them. There are also weak points on the machines, but if you put them under fire you can destroy them relatively well," I said to Jim.

We drank another can of beer, smoked and talked a little more. Then we went to sleep. Jim was fast asleep. Amelie curled herself up again and pressed her back against me. I wondered where that woman got those cold feet.

  1. Day

After breakfast I went with Jim to the training room. I showed him the blueprints of the different machines. I showed him the weak points of the robots. Jim listened carefully and asked questions from time to time. Amelie also sat there and listened attentively as well. She refreshed her knowledge once again.

Then I showed him our weapons. Amelie demonstrated her Automatgevär 5. It was the same caliber as Jim’s Colt M16 rifle. Jim thought Amelie’s gun was better and tried it out. I got him one from the weaponry. Then I showed him the Klaucke and the Bazooka. I still had Thort’s .50 caliber PVG90 rifle.

Jim raised his eyebrow in appreciation.

“That’s a beast,” Jim said about that gun.

The pump gun “Old Bethan” also found Jim’s recognition… Jim took a Klaucke, because unfortunately we had no ammunition for his 1911 Colt Government. Then he armed himself with a Automatgevär 5, because he was used to this caliber. He also took a Kpist submachine gun, the PVG90 rifle. He also took the Bazooka. I gave him hand grenades and HEP bullets for the Bazooka.

  1. Day

After breakfast we discussed the further procedure and slowly started to get ready for departure. In the evening you could already feel the cool breeze of autumn. I urged to leave for Hjimfäll as soon as possible. The closer we came to autumn the worse the weather became.

  1. Day

We set off early in the morning. Outside it was just dawning and we were off. Amelie had prepared finger food again the night before, so we had provisions on the way. We set off and two hours later we reached the farm Knaperänna. Here we took a rest. We were just about to leave again when we heard shots and the noise of battle.

We looked at each other, then I looked at the map. In the direction of the battle noise was another farm called Bäckbol. We started walking immediately. The closer we got, the louder the battle noise got. But we also heard the thundering steps of a tank. Soon we saw the fire trails of its shells. We stalked slowly towards the farm. We peered through our binoculars and saw a tank and a harvester, several hunters and some runners.

We saw a single person desperately fighting this army. Over and over again she shot the tank with a shotgun. We mined the area in front of us, then we fired at the runners. Some exploded. Then the hunters became aware of us and ran in our direction. Jim and I fired with the PVG 90s and were able to destroy some of them before they reached our mine belt.

Even Amelie could knock down a Hunter. We first shot the arm of the machine guns away from them before we destroyed them. Then Jim switched to the Bazooka and fired on the harvester. I fired at his rocket launchers with Amelie. The tank also caught our attention and fired grenades at us.

We retreated. I dropped more mines. The cumbersome harvester tried to chase us and was the first to step into the minefield. A few mines exploded and the harvester buckled as we blew one leg away.

The tank kept shooting at us and we split up. The farm person continued to fire at the tank. I fired at the tank’s rocket launcher. There were several explosions. We continued to fire at the harvester, which exploded soon after. We lured the tank towards us by shooting at it further and further. He stalked clumsily. Jim, Amelie and I had shot at his gatling. Shortly afterwards she fell to the ground with a crash. Jim shot the tank with the Bazooka. I shot him with the PVG 90 rifle. After the tank got into the mine belt, he also buckled because one of his legs was badly damaged. Then he collapsed in a huge explosion. A few ticks ran towards us, we shot them with the submachine guns. Then it became strangely quiet. We found tons of ammunition that we shared among ourselves when we looted the robot wrecks.

Then we went carefully into the house. It had been badly damaged by the tank’s attack and if we hadn’t come, the tank could have brought the house down. We called when we entered the house. The inside of the house was badly devastated and it looked as if there had been a fight in the house. At the foot of the stairs we saw a young man with Asian features. He was dead, his body was covered with bullet holes. They looked like a runner’s caliber. A little further up the stairs lay an Asian girl in her blood, her eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. She had a very pretty face. Her mouth was open, a trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth over her face. She had beautiful, jet-black, long hair lying in a pool of blood. Her body was also covered with bullet holes, she had probably tried to run up the stairs and had been shot from the behind. A little further up the stairs we found a young man, who had been killed by a falling beam. I closed the girl’s mouth and closed her eyes. She looked like she was sleeping. We worked our way up the stairs. The rooms above were badly damaged. We went in carefully.

I heard a whimper. An Asian girl sat huddled in a corner. She trembled like aspen leaves and aimed her pump gun at me. I gave instructions to the others to withdraw. Then I spoke to the girl in English and asked if she would understand me.

She said "Hai" which I interpreted as "yes". I slowly took off my G3, took the shotgun and PVG 90 off my shoulder, and slowly put my submachine gun down. Then I took my Klaucke out of the holster and slowly put it down too. She was still trembling with the rifle aimed at me. The girl was definitely in a state of shock.

I raised my hands and spoke to her soothingly.

"See, I’m unarmed now. Can I get closer now? "

"Hai," she said again.

I crept slowly towards her so as not to startle her.

“Would you please take the gun down? I am not a threat to you. We destroyed the robots. You are not in danger at the moment. Would you take the gun down, please? ”I continued.

Then I had crawled up to her. She looked at me whimpering with eyes wide with fear. I pushed my hand very slowly to the barrel and pushed it away from me to the side so that it was no longer pointing at me. Then I slowly grasped the barrel and carefully pulled the gun out of her hand. She just let it happen. I said to her…

"there is no more danger. Give me the gun. Come on, just let go."

I put the gun down gently. Then I was next to her. She looked at me shaking and whimpering.

Then I carefully put one arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards me, I knelt before her. As her head lay against my chest she screamed out loud and cried heartbreakingly. I slowly weighed her and stroked her hair.

Amelie and Jim slowly came into the room.

"Amelie, you take her. I think you can do better than me."

Amelie put her gun aside and knelt beside me. I took the girl away from me and held her in Amelie’s arms. She held on to Amelie and cried. Amelie comforted her a little and managed to calm her down.

“We have to get out of here. Who knows how long we’ll have peace here. The best thing is to take her to the bunker and nurse her back to health.” „

That will be the best Helldiver, I’ll take her," said Amelie and slowly pulled the girl up.

She clung to Amelie.

“What’s your name?” asked Amelie.

"Akiko, Akiko Hyundura," she said softly and in a shaky voice.

The name sounded familiar and then I remembered the group we had met on the way to Vesslan Bunker. They belonged to the Japanese to whom we had given a Klaucke and a pump gun, the very weapon I was holding in my hand. They had made it this far. I took my guns back and said we should slowly go back down and move away.

As we went down the stairs, Akiko cried out loudly when she saw the young man lying on the stairs with his skull crushed. I had pulled him out from under the beam and closed his eyes. She shouted something in Japanese and knelt down beside the dead man. She took him in her arms, kissed him, stroked his face and repeated something in Japanese over and over again. And she cried very badly.

Amelie took her in her arms and slowly pulled her away from the dead man. When we passed the girl Akiko screamed hysterically, crying was terrible, what pain she must be in right now. We only understood that she kept shouting "Mila" and something else in Japanese.

She had taken the dead woman in her arms and pressed her against herself. She swayed her back and forth and cried, stroking her hair, her face. A terrible crying, which sounded more like cries of pain. I reminded her to leave again. I could understand that Akiko wanted to say goodbye to her friends, but we had to leave this place.

Amelie took her back and spoke calmly to her. Akiko kissed the dead woman and laid her down again very carefully. Then she clung to Amelie and sobbed terribly. Amelie tried to comfort her, spoke calmly to her and slowly pulled her away from the terrible place.

When we were outside, Amelie had managed to calm Akiko down somewhat. Then she asked us

“you can’t bury them. I can’t just leave my boyfriend and my cousin Please, please bury them please.”

I told her "the ground is too rocky here and it would take too long to dig a big enough grave. “The only thing we can do is cremate their bodies. I saw a big pile of wood in the yard. That should be enough for that. If we burn them in the house, it will be a huge flame and they will burn completely to ashes, that’s all we can do,” I said.

She agreed. Amelie asked

“How long do you think it’ll take you?”

I said, "I estimate three-quarters of an hour. We have to carry all the wood in, lay the dead on it and then light the whole thing and wait a moment until it burns completely."

“Don’t you think it would be good if I went ahead with her so she wouldn’t see this, it’s certainly not a pretty sight for her?” Amelie asked.

“You’re right, in her condition, that wouldn’t be good. But please take care of Amelie, be careful, don’t take any risks,” I admonished her.

I had a bad feeling about it, but I let her go. She took her rifle so that she could hold Akiko in her arms and still shoot. I had a tummy rumbling, worried, I looked after the two girls.

“Let’s get on with it,” Jim said.

We carried the wood into the house and built a pyre. We worked like berserkers. The sweat was pouring down on us. When we’d stacked the wood, we recovered the bodies and put them on the pile. I found a full can of gasoline in the garage and poured it over the bodies. We took off our helmets and said a short prayer. Then we lit the pyre. Thanks to the large amount of gasoline, the pyre burned brightly and we had to retreat, because the heat that came our way was enormous.

Jim and I made our way to the Minken Bunker. Hopefully the girls had not run into a Hunter patrol.

Amelie tells us:

I had the weeping Akiko in my arms. We had walked for a while and she had calmed down somewhat. I recognized her, she belonged to the group of Japanese we had saved from the Runners. She had spoken to us then. She asked me my name and I told her. I let her go on my left side and embraced her middle, so I could shoot better if I had to. I carefully scouted the area.

"You saved me," she said to me.

"Thank you, Amalie. Where are we going now?" she asked

“We’ll go to the Minken Bunker, you can rest there for a while and then we’ll see.”

“Is there any food? I haven’t eaten for a while.” she asked me.

“Of course I’ll make you something to eat,” I said to her.

We came to a clearing and suddenly I saw a movement and a light.

"Down Akiko," I said and we ducked into the grass.

A little before me I saw a small hill and a pile of leaves.

“Come on, let’s run quickly into the pile of leaves,” I whispered to Akiko and she nodded.

Then we started running. I heard the penetrating humming sound of a hunter. Then I heard a polyphonic one Djiieep…… Djiieep…… Djiieep…… Djiieep……of the servo motors. The characteristic sound of several Hunters. I dug Akiko and then myself into the pile of leaves, because Akiko was dressed in a garish color and I didn’t know if the robots could recognize it. Helldiver had always said they would detect that. I slowly pushed my rifle in front of me, so that I could shoot at any time.

Akiko whimpered softly beside me and I covered her mouth.

"SSSSCCCCCCHHHHHHH, Akiko, please be quiet. They hear every sound, please be very quiet!" I whispered to her.

She trembled under my hand.

“I’ll take my hand away now, will you be quiet?” I asked her.

She nodded. I could see the hunters walking back and forth in the clearing. They had smelled something, I suspected.

“Bloody hell, now I’m stuck here. I can’t cope with them alone, hopefully the boys will come soon and hopefully they won’t bypass the hunters, then we’re screwed,” I thought further.

I slowly and carefully pulled the belt of my submachine gun and quietly wiped it off, then I quietly took my submachine gun and put it next to Akiko.

“SSSSSSSTTTTT, Akiko can you handle it? It’s already loaded, all you have to do is turn the safety lever and fire,” I whispered to her.

Akiko nodded and replied quietly, "I can.”

I looked around carefully lying down without making a sound. On the horizon, I saw a big pillar of smoke rising. They had lit the fire. They would come soon. I kept my eyes on the robots, always looking in the direction Helldiver and Jim were coming from. I slowly and carefully dug my flashlight out of my pocket. With it I could give the two light signals.

Akiko and I pressed ourselves to the ground and kept quiet as a mouse. Now and then I could see one of the hunters running back and forth behind the hill. Again and again I peered backwards.

I suddenly thought I saw something moving. It was more like a scurry.

"That must have been Helldiver," I thought to myself and shone the flashlight in the direction I had seen the scampering.

I pressed the Morse key of the lamp and let it flash twice briefly. Then I saw a scurrying again and a few blades of grass moving slightly. I flashed in that direction again. Now twice and again twice.

Then the release, from the high grass it flashed back briefly twice. I repeated my signal once more. Then it flashed back twice more. I peered through the scope. I could see Helldiver, who was also looking at me through his rifle scope. He waved at me and I carefully waved back. Then he showed me with the fingers he slowly lifted up how many hunters we had to deal with. There were six of them. A complete patrol. But he also showed me a grab movement with his hand. That meant they were going to attack.


#35

Helldiver tells:

…the stake was burning brightly and the fire spread to the house. Jim and I started out.

"Say Hell, you look kind of funny, is something the matter with you?" Jim asked.

“I’m worried about the girls, I don’t know if it was good to let them go alone,” I replied.

“But Amelie is experienced too, she’s been on the road with you for so long,” Jim said,

“Well,” I said, “but we’ve always been together and Amelie is scared shitless of hunters. If she walks into a patrol by herself, no idea what she might do,” I told Jim.

I got nervous hoping that didn’t happen. Amelie had some combat experience and was certainly careful enough, but she had this Japanese girl with her who was also in shock. If she panicked and just ran off, Amelie was screwed, she could fight as well as she could. The more I thought about it, the more worried I got. Jim offered me a cigarette. He’s a nice guy, and he was peeping around as attentively as I was.

We took a short break and smoked. I told Jim my concerns. He tried to cheer me up and calm me down. Jim meant well. We just kept going. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any footprints, at least I would have known which way Amelie had taken. I’m sure she’d gone back the same way.

By now we had walked it several times. We were approaching an open area. A large meadow. I saw a movement, I ducked and Jim reacted immediately, he ducked, too. To our left was tall grass and we quickly scurried into it. Then we looked with our scopes. I saw a group of hunters. They were all green hunters, tough nuts with good armor. Jim figured we could handle them pretty good. If we steer a wide berth around them and are quiet enough, they won’t notice us.

I kept watching the Hunters. I noticed they weren’t patrolling. They were walking in the meadow, their sensors were yellow and they looked like they were looking for something. The girls came back to my mind immediately. My God, if they had run into the patrol. Hopefully, Amelie had seen them before, and she bypassed. I was scouting the area. I quickly changed position again to get a better view. Suddenly I saw a bright spot of light flashing, I looked in this direction with the rifle scope. Had I been wrong, was it just a light reflection of something metallic that was lying in the meadow?

I looked strained through my rifle scope and saw only a heap of leaves which lay behind a small hill. Then I saw the flash of light again, twice in quick succession. I looked over again and saw that the pile of leaves was moving a little. In the leaves I saw a helmet. Damn, that must be Amelie. I set it to maximum magnification and took a closer look at the pile of leaves. I recognized a gun barrel and a hand sticking out of the pile of leaves. Inside was a flashlight, which shone in my direction again and flashed twice briefly. I took my flashlight and shone back. Then Amelie made that sign again, flashing twice briefly. I flashed back again. I saw the rifle turn in my direction and could see the face of Amelie looking over at me. I waved to her and pointed my fingers at how many hunters there were.

I shouted quietly over to Jim. "Hey Jim, the girls are in that pile of leaves over the hill." I showed Jim where they were.

"Damned, we gotta get them out of there," Jim said.

“We’ll take the PVG 90 and fire the machine guns away from them. Then we’ll knock them out, how many hand grenades do you have left, Jim”? I asked.

He took them out of his combat bag with mine - eight of them altogether. We watched the robots for a while and waited until they were closer together. Then I showed Amelie a "grab hand" the sign to attack.

Jim and I jumped up and quickly threw the hand grenades under the robots. They detonated in the middle of them, Jim had a good throw, then we quickly changed our position and fired on the Hunters with our PVG 90’s. They swayed under the heavy impact of the 50th caliber. Some of them exploded immediately because we had already severely damaged them with the hand grenades.

Amelie had also jumped up and entrenched herself behind the hill. I could also see the little Japanese girl firing with Amelie’s submachine gun. I took a hunter under fire, which came dangerously close to them. His machine gun fell to the ground. Suddenly the Japanese woman ran screaming, running with the MP firing towards the Hunter, from which I had shot the Mg. I could not shoot at him anymore, because I was in danger of hitting the girl. I fired at another hunter who was coming at Jim. I could still see the robot the girl was running towards striking with his sword. She plunged under the whirring sword at lightning speed, which whistled over her head at a centimeter distance, she slid past the robot, turned and fired from behind, down into the robot, which twitched and exploded with a glaring flash.

Akiko knelt in the high grass after she had wiped out the robot. We were all still staring in shock when she started this breakneck action. Amelie still had her rifle at the ready. I watched the area through the sight of my PVG 90 in the infrared range and saw two runners in the bushes at the edge of the forest.

The dogs wanted to sneak up on me. I extinguished them with one shot each. Jim nodded appreciatively.

“You’re a real sleuth. I didn’t see them, I’ll give you that.”

“But the little Japanese Lady Hell man. She’s really something.”

We went over to the girls.

I asked Amelie, worried, "Is everything okay?"

“Yes, of course, we’re fine. Thank God you saw my light sign.”

"Yes, you could say that," I answered.

“I mustn’t even think about what could have happened,” I said and sighed.

She put her hand on my shoulder and said

“It’s all right, don’t worry. Everything’s fine.” She smiled encouragingly at me and squeezed my shoulder.

Jim had gone to the girl. She had gotten up. Her face did not show any emotion. Jim asked her if everything was okay. She answers

“Yeah, it’s all good.” We looted the robots and went on to the bunker which wasn’t far away.

Amelie had taken the girl, her name was Akiko, in her arms. The two girls left together. Akiko seemed to like it. Jim had taken the lead. I went after her and secured the back. I couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling that I had made a huge mistake by letting the two girls go off alone. I should have known better. That nothing happened to the two was I classified under the category of pure luck.

When we arrived at the bunker, Amelie was walking around with Akiko. She showed her our sleeping room, the common room, the shower room and the canteen. While she went with her to the clothing stock to give her fresh laundry and towels, I stayed behind in the canteen with Jim. I unloaded my weapons and cleaned them. I couldn’t get rid of my dark thoughts. Jim shoved a can of beer across my table, but I waved off. I was just not in the mood.

“Jim, don’t be mad at me, but I need a little time off. I’m going to go smoke a cigarette in the hangar. I need a moment alone,” I said to Jim.

I took the PVG 90 back to the dorm room. But took the G3 and my Klaucke with me. We used to walk around in the bunker with guns and we’d always tell them where we were going. I went into the hangar. And I’d sit behind a concrete barrier near the entrance. I couldn’t get shot at from outside by a robot. And nobody could sneak in unnoticed because we had locked the gate. I lit a cigarette and tried to calm down.

Amelie tells.

Amelie went with Akiko into the clothing chamber and together with her, picked out a suitable uniform. She was already dressed in bright colors to see us for miles around. She turned up her nose when she saw the men’s underwear. But when Amelie showed her that she was wearing Helldivers shorts, they both laughed heartily. Amelie told her that if you really want ladies’ underwear, there is a shop for ladies’ underwear in Asö and you can get something for her there. But she refused. Amelie sent her into the shower and told her

“When you’re done, come to the canteen and I’ll cook something for us.”

Akiko thanked her and embraced Amelie tight at her.

Amelie set about cooking something. She stirred up a stew again. Jim had called this mixture of everything "bunker gumbo." In reference to his native Louisiana, where stews were called gumbo. Everybody loved to eat this mixture of pea soup, red beans and ravioli. When it bubbled in the kettle and was hot enough she brought the kettle into the dining room, Jim had already put plates on the table and Akiko also just came into the room. She was wearing military trousers, boots and a T-shirt.

"Where is Helldiver asked Amelie to join the group…

Jim said "He went into the hangar to have a smoke. He said he needed a break."

Amelie already knew what was going on. She had seen the look on his face when they went to the bunker after the fight. She knew the man too well already. If he was isolating himself and getting quiet, something was bothering him or he needed to figure things out. “I’ll go check on him,” she’d say. “You go ahead. Akiko must be hungry. Jim, would you be kind enough to look after her?”

"Of course, with the greatest pleasure," Jim said, smiling, and his white teeth shining in his dark face again.

"Come Akiko," he said, pulling out a chair for her.

Amelie went off and wondered what he might have. He had probably been worried about her and had to come clean with himself because he had sent her off alone and put her in danger. She had known him too long to know what he was like. “That man just loves you, even if he doesn’t say it. I really need to talk to him.”

She just felt that that closed man loved her. And she loved him, too. At first, when he stumbled into her life, she was angry because Thort had opened up to him and he had attracted the attention of the robots that were chasing him. She had been almost insane with fear and it was terribly mean of her to want to send him outside the door again.

Also when he pushed her when they ran over to the Salthamm Bunker and he pushed her several times to make her run faster. She would have liked to slap him in the face then. But when she had fallen and he had courageously stood in front of her in the hail of bullets and protected her, helped her up and pushed her into the bunker to protect her, she had seen him with different eyes. When she had hidden behind him from the Tick and had used him as a shield for her own fear, he had been hurt. There he had been angry with her and she had become afraid of him. But when he had cared for her wounds… First her knee and then her feet, without paying attention to his own bad injuries, she had fallen in love with him.

His smile, his caring. He had scolded her a lot because she had behaved so clumsily and he himself had been put in danger to protect her, that had only made her so sad because she loved him and didn’t want to be rejected by him. How stupid she had often been towards him. He had always made the greatest effort to teach her something. But she had not pursued this with the necessary seriousness. He had thrown himself over her when she had thrown the hand grenade too short in the Vesslan Bunker. He had saved her life and risked his. She remembered well when she had pulled the metal splinters from his back with tweezers, crying. She was so ashamed that he had been harmed because of her misconduct. She had been ashamed when she had run away from Hunter and he had been shot at and he was woundet when he protected her and brought her back to Vesslan Bunker.

He had given her a good telling off, and she ran away crying. He had apologized to her afterwards, even though he was injured, and she had ranting and raving even though he was in pain.

All this went through her mind. She loved his smile, she loved his closeness. She loved to be safe in his strong arms. When he was not near their she missed something. He had already become a part of her. It was time for Amelie to tell him that she loved him. He had earned it.

"And it will happen right now," she said as she took a deep breath and opened the door to the Hangar.

Helldiver tells.

I sat on my box, smoking, watching the cigarette smoke. I heard the chirping of crickets sitting in the grass outside. I heard a sound like the hangar door opening and closing. It was Amelie, because I heard her voice calling out to me. I was about to answer her when she came around the corner.

"Here you are," she said, and sat down next to me on the box, and I gave her some room.

She asked “Can I have a cigarette…,” she didn’t get any further because I already had the cigarette pack outside and offered her one.

I gave her a light, then I lit another one myself. We smoked a few puffs in silence. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked suddenly.

“You’re so quiet, what’s bothering you?”

"I should never have let you go off alone," I said to her.

“Anything else could have happened, just because I idiot didn’t think it through and agreed to it hastily.” I said to her.

She stroked my hair and said

“Don’t always be so hard on yourself. You’ve done everything right.”

“It was more luck than good sense,” I said. “Jim and I were already trying to get around the robots when I noticed they weren’t just patrolling, they were looking for something. My first thought was you and Akiko.”

"You were worried about me?" she asked.

“Yes,” I said, “I daren’t even think about what could have happened.”

“What would you have done if I hadn’t been in the bunker?” she asked.

"I would have run off again immediately looking for you. I think I would have gone crazy."

She moved closer to me and put her arm around my shoulder.

"You shaggy wolf had the right idea with your wolf nose again," she said.

"You saved my ass again," she said with a mischievous smile.

“Amelie!” I rebuked, because I didn’t like her speaking so unladylike.

She always stressed the "ass" especially when she said that to me.

“Don’t blame yourself too much. It’s not your fault.” I nodded.

She reached into her shirt pocket and pulled out a candy bar. She unwrapped it with a mischievous smile and said.

"You deserve a reward!"

She held the piece of chocolate in front of me, quickly waved it in a circle in front of my face and stood up.

“Come and get it,” she said with a mischievous laugh. What was she up to now? I thought I was in no mood for any games. But I gave in, because I didn’t stand a chance against her charm anyway. I stood up, she still had the chocolate in her hand and held it in front of my mouth again and pulled it away as fast as lightning when I wanted to bite into it. She stuck the piece between her teeth, grabbed me, shoved a hand down my neck and then mumbled

"Come and get it." I approached her face and opened my mouth slightly, and when I got close enough to bite into the chocolate, she pulled her head back a little, just enough that I had to bend even further. With her hand on my neck, she pulled my head towards her. Her eyes looked strangely seductive.

I bent forward a little more, she pulled her head slightly away and then she pushed it forward, pressed the piece of chocolate into my mouth and then our lips touched, she pressed the chocolate with her little tongue completely into my mouth I felt it on my lips.

It was like an electric shock, thousands of ants were tingling on my skin. Her kiss was so sweet, so passionate, I almost lost my senses. It was an amazing feeling. I had never been kissed by a girl before, not like Amelie had. It was not just the touch of two lips, not the touch of two tongues, no it was a much greater gift she was giving me.

She had put her head a little to one side and closed her pretty eyes. I closed mine too and almost drowned in the feeling. She held me tightly, scratched my hair in my neck and sighed comfortably. Then we loosened. I looked at her. There was a whirlwind of emotions inside me, I was paralyzed. Her dark eyes shone like stars, her gaze was warm and full of passion.

She smiled seductively at me and then I bent down once more to approach our lips. She closed her eyes again and put her head slightly tilted, I closed my eyes and then I kissed her, tasted her small, sweet tongue between my lips, felt her soft lips, felt her teeth on my tongue felt her breath which she blew out of her small, fine nose. The world was sinking around me. I felt her tender body against mine, I held her in my arm and she pressed herself even tighter against me. She crawled the hairs of my neck, stroking gently with her fingers on my cheek, shivers running down my back, it was a magical moment.

As we parted, she laid her head on my shoulder, smiling happily at me. She stood on her tiptoes and breathed into my ear "I love you Helldiver Je t’aime, mon chéri (French: I love you my darling). I didn’t know what to say, I was too overwhelmed. Was I even allowed to respond, was it right at that moment? It had just happened what I actually wanted to prevent, did I now accept a gift that I was not allowed to accept?

I felt that I was attracted to this young woman, she had become a part of me with her gentle charm. When she touched me it gave me goose bumps. I desperately resisted falling in love with her, but her charm, her magic was just too powerful. I wanted to say something, but she put a finger on my mouth “Ssssssssssss, don’t say anything now,” she breathed in her unmistakable French sound that hit me to my very core. It sounded so passionate with her.

I kissed her again and it was again so wonderful, so unique. We held each other while our lips touched, then she closed mine with her lips by kissing me on the mouth again, as she usually did when she kissed me on the cheek.

"Come on, you have to eat, …come!" she said to me, smiled seductively and took me by the hand. I was still quite dazed by what had just happened.

We went hand in hand to the canteen. Jim and Akiko were almost finished eating. Akiko had been ravenously hungry and said that she hadn’t eaten anything warm for weeks. She even drank a beer while we sat together after dinner. When we had cleaned up and washed up we moved to the common room. I put on some music. We drank beer, smoked and chatted together. Amelie sat next to me on the couch the whole time, leaning against me.

When we went to bed, we asked Akiko which bed she wanted and where we should put it. She asked Jim if he would mind if she lay down beside him. I guess she liked Jim.

“If it gets too cold at night, you can just put your bed by my pushing and I’ll warm you up,” Jim said.

She didn’t hesitate to push her bed right up against Jim’s bed.

“I’ve been freezing the last ten nights, badly. I don’t want to freeze anymore and I’m glad I’m not alone.”

She lies down in her bed. Jim spread his blanket over hers before he laid himself down. Jim was already a good guy. We turned out the light, with a lamp burning in the hall to protect us from unpleasant surprises. I loaded up my Klaucke and put it on the bedside table before slipping under the blanket to Amelie. She turned to me in the semi-darkness and pulled the blanket over our heads, snuggled up to me and kissed me passionately.

It was much more intense than in the hangar. I felt her delicate body even more intensely, as we were not wearing much clothing.

"Sleep well" she breathed as she separated from me "Good night," then she took my left arm, curled herself up again and pressed her icy cold feet between my lower legs.

"Hmmmmm," she purred softly. Then we fell asleep.

  1. Day

Jim again took very good care of Akiko, who obviously enjoyed it very much. In the afternoon, Jim left the bunker with her. He had shown her how to handle an Automatgevär 5 and had practiced with her in the hangar. He also practiced with her the handling of a submachine gun. She was a docile student and Jim was a perfect teacher. He was very professional and with him she would certainly become a good fighter. I found a medical bag in Sickbay. I decided to show it to Akiko and equip her with what she needed. The fact that we now had a doctor-to-be on the team was really good. With Jim taking care of Akiko, it gave Amelie and I a little more time together. I knew how much Amelie needed my closeness. I sat with her on a wooden box in the hangar and held her in my arms. She didn’t want to go for a walk because she felt that Jim and Akiko should be a little alone together. We would only disturb them.

  1. Day

Today Amelie decided to go to the Guteby farm once again. She wanted to get a chicken and slaughter it.

“I’m hungry for fresh chicken,” she said.

“and besides, they won’t survive the winter anyway if nobody feeds them.”

I wasn’t exactly thrilled by her suggestion that she go alone with Akiko. She packed the cleaver from the kitchen in her backpack…

“It’s not that far and if we get a problem, we’ll shoot three times in the air,” said Amelie.

I agreed more or less grudgingly, because I still had the last single-handed attempt of her in my bones. I got a hug and a tender kiss and the promise to take good care of herself. Jim and I trained and then showered. Then we went into the hangar with a can of beer and smoked. I looked at my watch with concern.

“Actually, they should be back soon. I don’t know how long it takes to kill a chicken, but slowly they might be back.”

I hadn’t finished speaking yet, when I heard shots. I heard the rapid staccato of an AK5 and the roaring gunfire of a Hunter machine gun. Jim and I started running. We ran towards the girls. We hadn’t gone far when we heard an explosion, then it got quiet. All we could hear was the sound of the wind in the trees and the whistling of some birds. We continued walking. Halfway to Guteby they came towards us. Each girl was holding a decapitated chicken in her hand.

“Tonight we’ll have Asian chicken. Akiko has a great recipe,” Amelie beamed at me.

"And what about the noise of the battle?" I asked.

"Oh, that was a hunter who got lost on the farm. Akiko and I finished him off. "Aaaand,"

with these words, Amelie pulled a small box out of her pocket with some wires hanging from it.

"I got his balls," she said with a diabolic smile.

My facial features derailed a little. What she showed me was a sighting module that I could mount on a scope.

“I got his balls,” Jim repeated up and shrilled to mimic Amelie’s voice.

Amelie gurgled. Akiko put her hand over her mouth, but her eyes laughed. Jim laughed whinnying…

“Aw man, I’ve got his balls,” Jim whinged so shrill again and burst out laughing.

Akiko giggled, and Amelie started giggling too, probably more over my dismayed face.

"Yes, I got his balls," Amelie giggled, and then there was no stopping us, we all laughed out loud.

Then we went back to the bunker snorting. Amelie put a big kettle of water on the stove. When it was boiling she poured the water into a metal bucket and dipped one of the chickens into it. Then she pulled the chicken out again and put it into a tub. Then she dipped the other chicken body into the hot water.

"That way the feathers come out better," Amelie said.

Akiko and Amelie set about plucking the chickens. They plucked the feathers out of the chickens in bundles. Amelie even seemed to enjoy it. Akiko did the same with her Asian calm. She threw the feathers into the bathtub.

"We’ll throw them out as soon as we finish the chickens. I’d never seen a chicken like that get cooked before. I’d only seen them in the freezer of a supermarket or when we bought them finished in Stenhaga. The girls laughed and chatted while we did it. I used to sit in the canteen with Jim cleaning the girls’ guns. Then, Amelie came up to me with a chopped-off chicken foot. She pulled on it at a certain point and it opened and closed as if it was still alive. The little devil had found something to chase me with.

Then Amelie gutted the chickens. It was really a bloody business. She was usually a little sensitive when she had blood on her hand. I remember when she said “Ewww,” when she touched my bloody arm in the Vesslan Bunker and how she threw up in a high arch when she saw Thort’s headless torso.

Taking out the chickens, on the other hand, didn’t seem to bother her. I was a little bit disgusted. But if you wanted to eat meat, you had to realize that an animal had to die for it and that it was a bloody business. The two girls seemed to enjoy it. Jim and I got what was left of the slaughterhouse in our hands.

“Go bury it outside so it won’t attract animals.”

When Jim and I got back, we heard it cooking. Akiko had taken over the regime in the kitchen and showed Amelie how to cook the chicken the Asian way. A little later, it smelled tempting.

A little later, Amelie shouted “Boooooys, come eat!” On the table were steaming bowls of rice and chicken in a delicious hot sauce. The meat tasted delicious. I’d never eaten chicken that fresh. We hardly left any of it. Jim ate the last of it before bedtime.

  1. Day

Slowly we planned the march to Hjimfäll. Jim and Akiko had become close. I often saw them walking hand in hand through the bunker. We sat together in the training room. Akiko had helped me put together the medical kit. We discussed once more what we were going to do to bring Akiko up to our level of knowledge. I let Amelie teach her about the weak points of the different robots and how to fight them best. We packed our backpacks.

  1. Day

We got up early and got ready to leave. After I had switched off the electricity and all other auxiliary equipment in the bunker, we set off. I locked the bunker and divided the chip cards among themselves, so that everyone had the possibility to enter the bunker. We didn’t know whether we would come back again.

We took the way via Asö and reached the place in the early afternoon. It was already biting cold, an unpleasant north wind blew and tore the colorful leaves from the trees. We reached again the crossing to Överbysläten. There were no hunters or other enemies to be seen. We crossed the open field where we had lost Thort and reached the coast unchallenged. We went along the sea to Nydala. There we would stay overnight. There was also a cave, which would be easier to defend. But the night was already too cold to spend the night outside. It was already getting dark when we reached Nydala. We prepared ourselves for the night. Jim and I let the girls have the bed. Amelie declined.

“Then I can’t cuddle with you at all,” she said to me with a pout.

As we lay down, Amelie lay on the floor next to me and cuddled into my arm. I spread my parka over her. Amelie purred comfortably and fell asleep quite quickly. My eyes soon fell closed too.

Day 81

We woke up early, made coffee on the esbit cookers. Amelie had prepared sandwiches yesterday which we ate for breakfast. Then we set off. We had to cross the bridge to Östervik. To our left was Överby Airbase, a big military airport. We walked through the forest at the river bank of the Överbyan, to have no enemy contact. Through the bushes we saw the bridge. It was guarded by some hunters. We found cover and took fire. We overpowered them quickly. Then we ran across the bridge as fast as we could and entrenched ourselves in the forest on the opposite side.

Then we scout the area. Through the bushes we could see the lights of Haga of a settlement. We worked our way forward and our destination was Kyrkhöjden. A church above Östervik. We were approaching an industrial complex. According to the map it had to be Överby Industriomrade.

We took a break in the factory building. We rummaged through the office and found a newspaper dated shortly before the robot attack. Professor Ingrid Granquist, professor of neurology and neurobiology and Nobel Prize winner, was found shot to death in her house in Lilla. Ten more people were killed or disappeared under mysterious circumstances that evening. All of these people were recently employed at FOA. Further details are not known.

"What does this mean?" asked Amelie.

"Do you think this is all connected, the murders and the hijacking of the machines?"

I said “That’s quite possible. Amelie, I am increasingly convinced that there is a conspiracy at work here, whether perhaps this van Ulmer and this Holberg are behind it. I have no idea.”

We put the paper in our pocket. After eating the last of our sandwiches, we moved on. We walked around the city, because we saw a lot of hunters and tanks marching around. The tanks were all painted green and very dangerous. The orange ones could be destroyed relatively quickly with concentrated fire, but the green ones were much more dangerous.

In the late afternoon we reached the church, as soon as we were inside, several runners came and fired at the church. We had a long firefight, because they had probably called for reinforcement. There were also some hunters with them. We had a long firefight until finally peace came. Luckily nobody was hurt except for a few scratches from flying wood and broken glass. We settled down in the organ loft and heated our dinner on the Esbit stoves. Amelie and I shared a can. I had to feed her again, otherwise she simply did not eat enough. When we got ready for sleep, Amelie lay down next to me and crawled back into my arm. With a smile on her lips, she pulled herself together, I covered my parka over her and took her left hand in mine. Then I got a good night kiss. That night it started to rain. I was awakened by the sound of the rain. Amelie lay peacefully against my chest and was fast asleep. I draped my parka around her a little more so she wouldn’t get cold. Then I closed my eyes again.


#36
  1. Day

In the morning I woke up again. The day was cloudy and a damp cold had spread in the church. Amelie walked a few steps around and smoked a cigarette shivering, I put my parka over her shoulders. Then I took care of breakfast. I made her a cup of coffee, then I heated up a can of baked beans. This time even Amelie ate them for breakfast and thought that it wasn’t such a crass thing to eat for breakfast after all, especially because it was pleasantly warm.

Jim asked “what’s going to happen now, how are we going to get to the island, there’s no ferry?”

I answered him, we found evidence that the group around Anita Sjögren had built a makeshift ferry. It must have come from Lennart’s Marin. It looks like a small boat yard or something like that. We collected our things and got ready to leave. Then we set off.

It was drizzling and there was a disgusting fine drizzle that went into every crack. After a short time we were all soaked. When we looked down from a hill onto the grounds of Lennart’s Marin we saw that there were some hunters and runners patrolling. We entrenched ourselves as good as possible behind stones and trees. Everyone looked for his target and then we all fired off at the same time.

The Hunters gave us some trouble, because they were shooting with poison gas. But we quickly put on our gas masks and fired back in one shot. After about an hour we had fought the robots down. Jim and I had formed a bridgehead in the gatehouse and continued to take the area under fire. Finally, we were able to penetrate the warehouse. In the office we found a radio. There was a crack in the radio and a faint voice could be heard.

"Attention this is Anita Sjögren, we have retired to the Björntunet Hotel on the island of Hjimfäll. We are a group of survivors. When you hear this, look for the winch in the warehouse, you can use it to start the makeshift ferry. A guide rope is stretched across Hjimfällsundet. You can cross the strait with it. Be careful, there are also a lot of dangerous robots on the island. We are looking forward to seeing you."

The message ran in an infinite loop.

"Maybe we can use this thing to call back," Amelie said.

We searched the warehouse for the winch and batteries for the radio. We found it. We put the fresh batteries in the device and turned it off so that when we were on the island, we could go back on the air. Then we boarded the boat and hooked the winch into the guide rope. I told the girls to watch the shore while Jim and I wound the winch.

We made good progress. When we had covered about three-quarters of the distance, we were fired upon. On both sides of the shore, runners had got into position and were firing at us. I took my PVG 90, put it on the edge of the boat. The boat rocked and it was difficult to aim, but with a two-shot I killed the runner who fired at us at Lennart’s Marin. Jim then shot the runner who was standing on Hjimfäll. In the end we were able to fight both sides. The girls were huddled together on the bottom of the boat, protected. It was getting dark when we docked.

When we had climbed out of the boat, we first secured all sides, then we went on. The next bigger place was Marksätern. The island was forested and it went steeply up the mountain.

Finally we reached Marksätern. The church was heavily damaged. The black burnt beams of its steeple stretched like dry fingers into the darkening sky. We met some runners and destroyed them. We looked for one of the houses and settled in the upper floor for the night. We decided the next morning to contact the survivors at the hotel.

  1. Day

After we were all awake we made coffee and drank it. After breakfast we looked at the map of Hjimfäll, located the Björntunet Hotel and the other places on the island. Then we made an attempt with the radio. We broadcast on the same frequency as the infinite loop.

"Attention Björntunet Hotel, this is Helldiver, we are four survivors, can you hear us?"

"Attention this is Björntunet Hotel, Helldiver, we can hear you loud and clear.

"This is Helldiver, we would like to come to you, we are armed and we have food with us."

"Very good Helldiver, can you go to Himarvet, there should be a squad of us there to get food and medicine. He is days overdue. We are in urgent need of medicine, especially wound care supplies, you can help us."

"We are happy to help, we have a budding doctor in our team and will collect the things needed in Himarvet. We will clarify what happened to your group. Helldiver Over.

"Please contact us when you are in Himarvet and tell us what you know."

We cheered, finally more survivors. How it went on then, we would find out. We went to Himarvet. Before we entered the town we looked very carefully to avoid getting into a hunter patrol.

At the entrance of the town there were army posts and a small tank. The posts had all been overrun. We also found the group of civilians, they were all dead. We searched them and took everything we could find on them, they had gone unarmed to Himarvet and probably been picked up by robots.

We searched the pharmacy, Akiko searched it and took what was necessary to treat injuries. We continued to wander through Himarvet, shop after shop on the main street. Amelie and Akiko stopped at a clothing store.

"Ohh look at those jeans," Amelie raved, looking down at herself and sulking.

“Oh, I’d love to put on some really tight jeans again,” she said.

"Me too, ah, and look at the shoes in the corner," Akiko said.

“Oh yes, another pair of really chic pumps, I’d love to have them again,” Amelie raved.

Jim and I looked around so nothing could sneak up on us.

"How can you like shoes that you walk around on unnaturally and that only cause painful feet?" I asked.

“Oh you don’t understand, Helldiver, those black pumps in the back, they’re just gorgeous. But you are not a woman, you don’t have to understand that,” she said laughing.

Akiko and Amelie were looking at more shops when I suddenly saw a movement. A large dark shadow flitted across the street.

"Look out!" I shouted, "I think a hunter is watching us."

“Where,” cried Jim, “I don’t see him.”

Then everything happened very quickly. A hunter came storming up from an alley. There was something else about that Hunter, apart from the black paint. The arm gun looked different. I grabbed Amelie by the arm and pulled her away. I had seen a grocery store across the street with the door open. I shot the Hunter while Amelie ran in front of me and dived into the store. The robot twitched and turned to protect its sensitive parts. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that Jim had run into a bakery with Akiko. Amelie fired out the door at the robot and gave me cover fire. Then I was also in the shop. I turned around so I could shoot the robot too.

Then I saw that something in the barrel of his arm weapon was sparking. The barrel was jet shaped. I intuitively grabbed Amelie by the collar and tore her away from the door behind a shelf. "Wahhh!!," she screamed shrillly, because she was not prepared for that. I pulled her to the floor and held her close. Not a second too soon, a red-hot fire shot into the shop.

If Amelie had been standing at the door, she would have been burned. I withdrew with her further behind the shelf, for the heat was unbearable.

"Phew, that was at the last second," said Amelie with a startled face.

I pushed her behind me and lay on my stomach. Then I crawled slowly forward, taking the rifle across in front of me and pulling myself forward on my elbows, just as I had learned in the army.

"What are you up to, Helldiver?" Amelie asked from behind.

"I’m slap the flamethrower one in," I returned while peering around the shelf.

I saw sparks flying away from him and heard the fast staccato of the AK5. Then I aimed on the robot and let my G3 rattle off. I saw that the robot had a big back pack. I shot him. There was an explosion and the backpack fell to the ground, then a few ticks came out of the backpack, which I quickly took under fire.

"Can you throw a grenade?" I asked Amelie.

“I’m already at it,” she said strained. She put one knee on my buttocks so she could see around the shelf and threw it. She had hit well, with a KLONK she bounced against the robot. I retracted my head and tried to crawl back. There was a tremendous explosion. Pieces of debris, glass and wood splinters came flying. The shelf tilted and I had to help Amelie keep it from falling on us.

Then another sheaf of bullets swept over our heads and crashed into the wall. Bits of plaster buzzed around our ears. I guess a second Hunter had joined us. I crouched down and straightened up carefully. I took a quick look over the shelf. A Hunter was standing in front of the shattered shop window. I immediately took cover again. Then we took our rifles and jumped up and fired at the robot. When our magazines were empty we took cover again. From across the street we heard shots, too. Amelie and I took a grenade. We pulled the rings off and threw it. There was another tremendous explosion. We still heard shots from across the street.

I carefully looked over the shelf and saw one of those robots with the flamethrower across the street. I took him under fire. Amelie appeared and fired as well. The robot exploded in a glaring cloud of embers. The grocery store was badly damaged. The shelf was our only protection. I carefully felt my way around. In the street lay the wreckage of the Hunter. Jim waved to me from across the street.

“All’s well!” he shouted.

"Yeah, all right," I said. Carefully, I walked out into the street. I saw another runner in the street and turned him into a smoking heap of rubble.

"Welcome to Himarvet," I said.

"These are very hot boxes here on the island," Jim laughed.

"Is everything all right with Akiko?" I asked.

“I’m here!” cried Akiko, “all is well,” she said.

We kept looking around, but we couldn’t find anything. The ammunition, the Hunter was sparse in comparison to those on Östertörn. We looked at the map and looked for the shortest way to the hotel. We had to move out of the city in a southern direction. We crept through the alleys and jumped from entrance to entrance. At the southern exit of the city, we saw a green painted porter’s lodge. It looked like one we had seen at the bunkers.

As we got closer we saw an entrance in the rock wall that rose behind it. We heard the bark of a runner and the scream of a hunter. We entrenched ourselves in the gatehouse. Immediately afterwards three hunters and five runners came running. In our hail of bullets, some of them turned into smoking wreckage. Jim and I fired our PVG 90s at the Hunters. The impacts of the heavy ammunition crashed into the robots, which exploded soon after. When we had more control of the battle, we sent Amelie and Akiko to the bunker entrance and covered them. Akiko shouted loudly "You can come!" as they opened the door. We fought the last Hunter down and went to the bunker door. Before that, we looted the robots.

They supplied a little more ammunition than the flamethrowers. Mostly 50 caliber ammo.

The bunker was a large room the size of the Minken Bunker’s warehouse. There were a couple of beds standing around. At least we did not have to sleep on the floor. Rönnhalla stood on a big sign, under it a plan of the room layout. Apart from a toilet and a washroom there were no other rooms. We decided to spend the night in that room and settled in. Jim and I went outside once more to make contact with the group at the hotel. They were happy that we would bring the necessary things. When we told them of the death of the group that had gone to Himarvet, the radio was silent for a moment. A sad “Thank you” sounded from the loudspeaker. We were asked where our current location was. I told them that . I told them that I don’t want to give it away over the radio for security reasons, as we did not know who was listening in.

  1. Tag

In the morning I went outside to smoke a cigarette. Amelie was with me. She held two cups of coffee in her hand. I smoked a cigarette and put it between her lips.

“It’s cold,” she said, shivering and rubbing her arms. I pressed my coffee cup into her hand, took off my parka and put it over her narrow shoulders.

“You are so dear, thank you Helldiver. Aren’t you cold?” she asked.

“I’m all right,” I replied.

I got a soft kiss on the mouth. The air was bitingly cold. For me it was a sign that winter was coming soon.

“We’ll have the first snow here in November at the latest,” I said to Amelie.

"Do you really think so," she asked.

“It goes a little faster here in Sweden than with you in France, it’s a different climate here,” I said to her.

We drank our coffee and finished our cigarette. We got ready to leave and went to the western end of Himarvet, where a road led to the church of St. Charlotte. From there, a forest path led up to a lookout point that bordered the hotel grounds. At the end of the village there was a military post and a small Tank that was burnt out. Everywhere the bodies of the killed soldiers lay around. We found weapons and ammunition. We took everything with us, because we did not know if the group in the hotel was armed.

We got into another fierce firefight with some hunters. It was those dark ones with the red wires. One of them was shooting poison gas. We quickly put on our gas masks and shot the grenade launchers. Also these flamethrowers appeared again. They were almost invincible in open terrain. We fired at them with the PVG 90 and threw hand grenades at them. Amelie had got the hang of it by now and threw them at the robots quite accurately. The grenades bounced off the robots and fell in front of their feet. Then there was a big detonation and the robots were ready to slaugther.

We continued through the forest that ran parallel to the road. Soon the steeple of St. Charlotte’s Church towered before us. We first looked over the area to see if any robot was waiting for us, then we ran across the meadow to the forest. We reached the edge of the forest and we all started panting, because the terrain was rising. Akiko didn’t pant like us because she was a non-smoker. Then we climbed up the forest path to the lookout point. We gasped up the path, because it was quite steep. I took Amelie the Meusser and her AK5. She still had her machine gun.

With the words "You are a darling, Helldiver," I got a hug and a big kiss.

I took her by the hand and pulled it a little. Jim did the same to Akiko. Rather exhausted, we reached the lookout tower that loomed high in the sky. The sky was dull and it began to rain.

“Oh, that, too,” Jim berated. “It’s autumn,” I said to Jim.

The ground flattened out. We got to a couple of huts. There was a big, burned-out barn with huts all around it. There was a big sign over the entrance to the grounds that said "Commune Ljuset." We searched the huts and found very little. Some tinned food and clothing. Around and in the hall lay the bodies of killed civilians. Inside the hall was a Christian cross. There was a circle around it. I had seen something similar in Ireland when I went there on holiday.

"There are crosses like that in Brittany too," Amelie said.

Where the vertical and the crossbar met, the head of a hunter was mounted. Frowning, I looked at it. "Commune of light," I pondered (Ljuset = Swedish for light) I looked around the barn. It looked like a temporary church or rather a meeting room.

"Strange," I said, "as if they were worshipping or revering machines."

On an altar under the cross there was a book that looked pretty worn. On yellowed pages similar sayings were written in psalms, also several sketches were found. The book must be very old, because several people had written their texts in it. I plugged it in without further ado. Next to the book was a Walkman. When I examined it there was no cassette in it. There was a small cemetery on the other side of the barn. Some crooked crosses, which looked temporary, pricked the ground. Also some gravestones were to be seen. We tried to decipher the data. Some were from last month. How fiercely people must have fought the machines. We turned around once more and went on. The rain had turned into drizzle. Fog came up and took away our view. Amelie and I scanned the area with our infrared vision modules. Then we moved on. Soon the building of the hotel rose up in the fog in front of us. We took cover behind the wall that surrounded the area. We made contact with the inmates once again. They warned us.

“This is Björntunet Hotel, Anita Sjögren. Great that you are at our door. We’re holed up in the wine cellar. Be careful, the whole hotel is occupied by machines. Are you armed?”

“This is Jim Henderson to Anita Sjogren. This is the exterminator. We are armed and have brought weapons and ammunition for you from Himarvet. So if there’s going to bang, we’re the ones that do it.”

"Thanks a lot, but be careful anyway!"

"Thank you very much, but be careful anyway!"

Jim laughed briefly. We lit another cigarette and smoked it while we discussed how to proceed. We decided that Jim and I would go in first and secure the girls in the back and move in as soon as we had cleared the lobby of the hotel.

“Well, let’s get this party started, rock ‘n’ roll,” Jim said with a laugh.

we threw away our cigarette butts and stormed the hotel. We broke in and had our first firefight with some runners lurking in the lobby. Some Tics came crawling across the floor. We killed them quickly, then we pushed forward. Amelie and Akiko walked behind us with their machine guns drawn. We fought on, room after room. When we took the bar, Jim went behind the counter and took a bottle of whiskey from the shelf. He put four glasses on the counter and poured.

“Come on down with it, let’s get this party started,” we toasted, lit a cigarette and drank in one.

Amelie and Akiko coughed a little.

“Don’t weaken girls,” Jim said with a laugh and poured more.

We toppled down the glass down, too. Amelie’s cheeks turned flaming red. Then we moved on, cleaned out the kitchen and the restaurant.

Then we went up to the upper floors. We opened every door and went inside. We opened the bathrooms and took a look inside, we even opened the wardrobes. When we arrived under the roof of the hotel it was already afternoon. We walked slowly down the stairs, still aware that something might attack us. When we entered the lobby we saw some hunters running around in front of the door. We put them through the wringer and made short work of them. Then a ghostly silence fell.

We barricaded the door with some boards that I had found in a pile next to the hotel. In a shed I found tools and nails. We boarded up the door so that no robot could enter at first. Then we went in search of the wine cellar. Behind the kitchen I discovered a staircase leading down. I walked down slowly with my gun drawn. I peeked through the door with my x-ray machine. And I could see some skeletons behind it. I shouted loudly

"Hello, this is Helldiver, we are on the stairs, do not be afraid we are armed, we are coming in to you now!"

I carefully opened the door and lowered the barrel of my submachine gun. I didn’t want to frighten the people. There was a group of people standing in the dim light, looking at me in a frightened way. Some raised their hands up.

“Hello, I am Helldiver, you can put your hands down. We’ve just cleared the hotel.”

Slowly, I entered the basement, Jim. Amelie and Akiko followed me. I showed them with a wave of my hand to lower their guns. We brought medicine, some food, and a few guns. Hesitantly, more men and women came, looking at us in disbelief. The crowd split up and an approximately 40-year-old woman with nickel spectacles on her nose rolled towards me in a wheelchair.

“Good afternoon, I’m Anita Sjögren, are you the ones who’ve been on the radio since the day before yesterday?”

“Yes we are, and we’ve just cleaned up upstairs. There are no robots in the hotel anymore.”

She wanted to say something to me, but an indescribable cheering broke out. There was whistling and applause. We were surrounded by people.

“How young they still are. You’ve liberated the whole hotel, can we go back up now?” we were mobbed with questions.

“Of course you can go back up, but be careful, we hope we haven’t missed anything.”

Once again there was indescribable cheering. We were embraced, our shoulders were patted. Amelie and Akiko were marveled at.

“Thank you, young people, for what you’ve done.”

When the rejoicing had subsided, I introduced ourselves and gave our names. Everyone applauded. When I called Akiko’s name, she stepped forward, put her hands together and bowed.

Then we put the things we had brought on the table. Akiko immediately took care of the injured and treated them. Anita said

“we are so grateful to you. We had stuck in that basement for weeks and haven’t been able to get anything. We’ve run out of food down here and we’ve already rationed.”

A fat man with a walrus beard stepped forward and introduced himself as Gilbert Michaud with a distinct French accent.

“I’m the chef at the hotel. Can I go back to my kitchen?”

"Helldiver," I said to him, reaching out my hand.

“Of course you can go back to your kitchen. We’ve left everything in one piece, so don’t be surprised if there are some holes in the base units and the pile of junk that’s lying there.”

Amelie came to say hello to Gilbert. “Bonjour Gilbert, je m’appelle Amélie” (French: Hello Gilbert, my name is Amelie ”).

"Ohhh bonjour mademoiselle Amélie une femme française, je suis content " (french : Ohhh good day Miss Amelie, a french girl, how beautiful")

And before Amelie knew it, he had embraced her and kissed her left and right on the cheeks. Amelie laughed and was happy to have met a fellow countryman.

“Then I’ll clean up my kitchen and cook something for you, you must be hungry.”

Slowly and carefully, the people left the cellar. Some men were interested in the weapons. Jim showed them to the people and handed them out. The hotel manager also introduced himself and asked us to come up. A short time later, we were sitting in his office. There was a knock at the door and a woman appeared with a tray, five glasses and a bottle of champagne. We were each given a glass. The manager saluted us and thanked us.

“We will of course provide you with the most beautiful rooms, they are certainly tired. Gilbert will cook you a nice dinner tonight. Everything is free for you here at the hotel, eat and drink what you like and as much as you like. We’re most grateful.”

We were shown to the reception and given room keys. "Would you like your own room?" I asked Amelie, she looked at me in astonishment.

"No, why do you ask?"

I asked for a double room. It was on the first floor, with a view of the back. On a clear day, it had a nice panoramic view. "When we got there, Amelie asked me

“why should I get my own room? Do you want to send me away again or don’t you want me with you?”

“No, I didn’t mean it that way,” I replied.

"I thought, because we were inevitably hanging out together in the bunker, that you wanted to have some privacy again. And please stop talking about I want to send you away. I like having you with me," I said to her.

"No, no, I like to be near you and then who will warm me in bed?" she asked with a smile.

I pulled her towards me and kissed her. Then we took off our boots and the uniform jackets. Amelie let herself fall on the bed laughing.

“Oh, it’s so nice to finally have a real bed again. Come to me,” she laughed and stretched out her arms to me.

I let myself fall on the bed beside her. We kissed again passionately. Then Amelie laughed mischievously and called

"Pillow fight!"

Then I got a pillow on my face, I wanted to fight back, but I got another pillow right on my head. Then I got a pillow and threw it back, then I grabbed Amelie and tickled her above the hip. Most of the girls were very ticklish there. A little later, Amelie was lying on the bed kicking and screaming

“Waaahhh, stop it, stop it, I can’t go on!” she screamed and laughed

"Hellldiver !!!, stop it, stop it, Wahhh !" she kept screaming.

Suddenly Jim stood in the door with his Klaucke pulled.

"Everything is all right with you," he asked.

“Yes, everything’s fine Jim, we’re just having a pillow fight,” I answered him.

"Yes, and Helldiver is tickling me," Amelie laughed.

"Well, carry on," Jim said laughing and closed the door.

As soon as Jim was out of the door the little devil had me in his grasp, I didn’t know where she got the blueprint of me, for she knew exactly where I was ticklish. A short time later I lay on the bed laughing and snorting. Amelie sat on me and worked me laughing up with pleasure. Then she stopped and laid on top of me. “I’ve defeated you,” she said laughing and kissed me gently.

Shivers ran down my back. Then she smiled at me.

“I’ve defeated you,” she smiled again.

"You have anyway defeated me ," I said to her.

"Really?" she asked and gently stroked my three-day beard with her hand. Before she could say anything else I closed her mouth with a kiss, which she returned passionately. After we had snoozed a little arm in arm, we freshened up in the bathroom and went to eat.

In the evening, when she slept in my arms, I lay awake for a long time. I thought about my relationship with Amelie. I realized that I was becoming more and more attracted to her. The moment this afternoon when I had her all to myself without anyone being able to come flying around the corner. That moment of normality. To hold her slender body in my arms and feel her warmth. It was so wonderful. How I would love to tell her that I had fallen in love with her. Yes, I had to admit it to myself, I had actually fallen in love with her. She was just too powerful. She had managed to send my resistance on the boards with her delicate hands. I had already gone too far. I could not and would not disappoint her. I put my arm around her a bit tighter and carefully pressed a kiss on her hair.


#37
  1. Day

After the first night in the big and comfortable hotel bed we woke up very relaxed. Amelie had laid herself in my arm as usual and used me as her pillow. She smiled happily at me when she woke up. After we had breakfast with Jim and Akiko at a table in the restaurant, we walked around the hotel a little and explored it. In the corridor I met Anita Sjögren. She was just coming down the hall in her wheelchair.

"Can I speak to you Mrs. Sjögren?" I asked.

"But of course Mr., … uh Helldiver."

We sat down at a table in the hotel lobby. I asked if she wanted to have a cup of coffee or tea, but she refused, but Amelie went out and got a pot of coffee and a few cups in the kitchen.

"Mrs. Sjögren?" I asked.

"Anita please," she interrupted me.

"OK, Anita may I ask you from where you escaped when the robots came?"

"Yes of course," she replied. "First, I lived in Salthamm on Nörra Saltholmen. I used to live in Lilla, near Östervik. After I separated from my husband a few years ago, I moved to Salthamm and had a tourism office there. I did guided tours to the castle ruins of Ibboholmen. Besides I am a volunteer in the Association for Civil Self-Defence and Self-Protection as deputy leader. We deal with the things to do when our country is attacked. To bring the civilian citizens to safety. I led the evacuation of Ibboholmen, Nörra- and Södra Saltholmen together with the military. Only a few civilians have died. Mostly by accidents. After Ibboholmen and Nörra Saltholmen had been evacuated, I was taken by military transport from Salthamm to Vesslan bunker. On the way, we evacuated the farms on Södra Saltholmen. From Vesslan Bunker we were then taken to Salthamm Naval Base. There we were to be disembarked to the mainland. When the evacuation was in full swing, the robots came and raided the naval base. The military tried to defend it and managed to hold off the robots long enough for the last ships to leave. A larger group of civilians and the remains of the soldiers then retreated with us into the naval bunker.

We then took the exit near Granthorp. On the farmstead there was a radio with which we had tried to contact other survivors. The only ones we could receive were the people from Björntunet Hotel."

Amelie came with a tray and three coffee cups, she poured a cup for herself and me. Anita took a cup and while Amelie poured it for her, she repeated what she had told me in short form. Amelie sat down and listened carefully.

“We could not stay long, because the robots were coming closer and closer. Finally we reached the Skarven Bunker. I knew that this bunker was actually shut down, but I had made a request at the time to reactivate it and refill it. We stayed in the bunker for two days, then the machines came. The military all wanted to go to the Minken Bunker, because there should be more military there. The way was too dangerous for me, because the machines were already dangerously close. Then I set off with a group of 15 people to Dyviks Udde. When we arrived there, the ferry had just left. So we moved on to Östervik. When we arrived in Östervik the robots had just overrun Överby Airbase. We then made our way to Lennart’s Marin. The small shipyard at the northeast end of Östervik. With Lennart’s help we stretched a rope across the Hjimfällsundet and built the makeshift ferry you came over on.”

“We found Lennart in his office,” I said. “He’s dead. When we got there we had a firefight with some robots, What do you know about Ibboholmen’s missing persons?” I asked her.

"Now only one person from Ibboholmen is missing, she was in the archipelago at the time. Otherwise, one person from Nörra Saltholmen and four from Södra Saltholmen are missing, one from abroad. I was also able to find out that a Japanese group was travelling on Södra Saltholmen", Anita continued.

I replied, “The Japanese group might have been Akiko’s. We met them too, they were going to Salthamm. Akiko is the only survivor. Ole could be from Nörra Saltholmen, he is dead. The missing person from the archipelago could be me. The three from Saltholmen may be Knut and Nils. They are also dead, I buried them myself.”

I asked Amelie "Tell me, Amelie, where did Thort live?

she replied

"At Södra Saltholmen, near the lighthouse Stenudden. Pass the Vesslan Bunker and all the way to the southern end of the island."

"What happened to Thort then?" Anita asked.

"He died in a battle with the robots north of Salthamm," I replied.

"Where are you from, anyway?" Anita asked.

I replied and told her a short story about our journey. Then she asked

“Helldiver, you’re the only one in your group who doesn’t use his real name, what’s the reason?”

"As you know, I’m from Ibboholmen, and that’s actually too much to say. I call myself Helldiver so that people don’t know my real name. I think there’s a conspiracy going on. In the beginning it looked like some kind of experiment got out of hand and you couldn’t pull the plug in time. But when I saw the first military machines and saw that they all have Swedish names, I assumed there was a conspiracy or terrorist attack or attempted coup. Since I have already destroyed a lot of robots and their infrastructure, it is possible that I will be hunted. I only want to prevent my parents and my relatives from being put in danger. If one of them is captured, it is better not to know anything about me. Because if you don’t know, you can’t tell anything.

"That makes sense," Anita replied while sipping her coffee.

"But you could be right about this conspiracy. Before the crisis broke out some people disappeared or were killed. The strange thing is that they all had something to do with the FOA.

When we came here, we met a man who called himself Frederik. But he did not want to join us. He only ferried with us to Hjimfäll and then broke up with us. He wanted to visit people in the commune of Ljuset, not far from the hotel. After that we haven’t seen or heard anything from him," she continued.

“What’s the story with Ljuset Commune. We found a strange cross there. It looked like a Christian cross but at the crossing point of the beams was the head of a hunter mounted. I also found a strange book with all kinds of sayings and sketches in it,” I asked Anita.

She replied “I don’t know much about these people. It is a sect that worships technology and has as its highest goal the union with technology. I don’t know much more about them either. But recently some members have left this community. They probably argued about the direction of the sect.”

Amelie suddenly threw a “Helldiver, didn’t you notice that the dead civilians were not riddled with bullets like the ones we usually found? I took a closer look at the people, most of them were killed by a bullet to the head. Some had shots in the chest. In any case, they looked like they’d been killed deliberately. Those who were killed by runners or hunters had the shots scattered all over their bodies.”

“That’s very interesting, Amelie,” I said to her. “I hadn’t noticed that directly, or rather I wasn’t looking very closely. Perhaps this Frederik had something to do with it?” I asked to the group.

Anita described Frederik, but his description did not correspond to the dead we had seen. We talked for a while. Anyway, I deduced from the conversation that my parents had probably made it and were safe. That made it a little easier for me. Anita also told us that she had multiple sclerosis and had to use the wheelchair recently. We spent the rest of the day exploring the area around the hotel to see if there were any other robots around.

  1. Day – 90. Day

We settled in. We enjoyed the amenities of the hotel. Amelie obviously enjoyed being with me. We often lay on the bed in the afternoon and she would cuddle up in my arms. We trained people on the weapons and undertook other expeditions. We got into some skirmishes with the robots again and again, but we could always win them. A young man named Björn Löfgren tried to repair the radio system of the hotel. He listened the whole day into the ether and receive up the one or other message very weakly. We were practically cut off from the outside world. I consulted with Amelie, Akiko and Jim. I suggested we spend the winter on the island. In the spring, we could possibly move on. The first snow-rain appeared intermittently and heralded the approach of winter.

Day 91

We wanted to go on an expedition again today, because according to our documents there was still a standby camp near the hotel, we suspected weapons and ammunition there. We were about to leave when we heard Björn calling us out of the window.

"Hello Helldivers, we have a contact, come quick!"

we rushed back to the hotel and went to the office on the ground floor, which was provisionally converted into a radio booth. We heard a faint, excited female voice.

“Mayday, mayday, this is Löjtnant Khorsandi I’m hit and I’ve lost control of the aircraft. I’m over Hjimfäll, mayday, mayday!” then the radio cracked and the connection broke up.

We ran to the hotel grounds and searched the sky. Suddenly we heard a high roar and a jet with a fire trail behind it flew over the grounds towards Himarvet. When the plane was roughly over Ljuset, something detached from the plane, and shortly afterwards a parachute inflated. Through the binoculars I could see that a person was hanging from it. We ran off immediately. We were able to follow the parachute until behind Ljuset. It seemed to go down near Saint Charlotte. We ran down the hill as fast as we could. We could barely see the parachute going down behind St. Charlotte’s forest. Completely pumped out we reached the church.

We heard a big explosion in the distance and fighting noise. The bang of Hunter shots and the whipping sound of a pistol. We ran on in the direction of the noise of the battle. Behind the forest the terrain opened up into a clearing and we could see some Hunters firing at something. Probably at the pilot. We took the Hunters under fire and drew them towards us. We fired from all pipes and were able to fight the Hunters off.

We approached the battlefield and shouted loudly. Behind a hill a person waved to us.

"You can come out, we have destroyed the robots," I shouted to the person.

A slender figure in a jumpsuit came out from behind the hill and held a pistol at the ready. As she approached, I could make out a woman in her mid-thirties.

"Löjtnant Elsa Khorsandi of the Swedish Air Force," she introduced herself. I told her our names. She asked if we were members of the army, but I denied it.

"We got the uniforms in the bunkers of Östertörn. They are more practical than jeans and miniskirts.

“That’s probably true,” she said laughing. On her flying suit were the insignia of the Swedish Air Force and an angry wasp, which was stretching its abdomen towards an enemy with its sting extended.

"Where are your quarters?" she asked. We told her that we were staying at the hotel on the mountain and had followed her crash from there. We started our way back. She was surprised that Amelie had a good experience with the robots. She was quite surprised when we got into a firefight with some hunters on the hotel grounds and wiped them out.

  1. Day

We talked to Elsa Khorsandi. She had risen from the mainland with a Vraken and flew under the radar. Near Hjimfäll she came under fire and was hit. She was amazed at our knowledge and our success in fighting the robots.

"Then it was you who destroyed so many robots in the various regions."

She informed us of what had happened. The robots had started their campaign at the end of June and had beaten back the army. In view of the heavy losses, people and the rest of the army were evacuated. The connections to the mainland were blown up. They had not yet managed to form a bridgehead because the army was constantly under enemy fire. She went on to say that there were factories in the various regions of Östertörn that produced robots and constantly supplied supplies. There was one such factory here on the island. It was called the Hellmouth.

Actually, Elsa had had the task of bombing and destroying the Hellmouth. She brought up an interesting theory that the FNIX Hunters were controlled by humans, because they would behave very differently from the military Hunters. Most of the time, they would appear and act together with the military hunters from the background. They would even pick out individual people to murder them selectively. The conspiracy theory has also been discussed in the military. A high-ranking military man, Frederik Holberg, who supervised a secret project at FOA, disappeared without a trace with the beginning of the robot crisis. With him was the scientist Svante van Ulmer.

I suddenly had an idea and asked Elsa

“Could you describe Frederik Holberg, do you know what he looks like?” “I recently saw a report on TV and a newspaper article. He’s in his forties, dark hair and a beard. His face is very angular,” said Elsa Khorsandi.

“This Frederik, who we met here, looked just like him. He just didn’t wear military clothes,” Anita interjected.

“If it really was Holberg,” I mused, “then he probably has something to do with the murders in the Ljuset commune, or maybe he’s even a member of it. Maybe he’s even behind this whole mess here. I noticed, by the way, that there wasn’t a single destroyed robot lying around on the commune grounds.”

We discussed the findings further but came to no reasonable conclusion.

We planned an expedition to the Hellmouth. Initially, only to scout the site. Elsa had detailed maps and aerial photographs. We studied them thoroughly.

"If you want to enter the facility, you need code cards," Elsa said. "It is possible that the robots guarding the facility have them.

"We had the same thing with the bunkers," I replied. We planned the first scouting action for the next day

  1. Day

We marched out after breakfast. After a good hour’s walk we reached a deep gorge. At the bottom of this gorge was the factory. In the inner courtyard a tank trudged up and down with thunderous steps. We looked even further with the binoculars. Of course the obligatory hunters and runners were still running around there. Right behind the entrance gate there was a porter’s lodge. We would use it as a bridgehead to get into the facility from there. Then we made off. At the hotel we discussed the results and planned to enter the factory. From Elsa we knew that the factory had large fuel tanks, and that if we could destroy them, we would destroy the factory.

  1. Day

We moved on to collect more mines and explosives. Bjorn Löfgren built us a kind of timer from an alarm clock.

  1. Day

We left for the demolition mission. Everybody wished us luck. We reached the Hellmouth without incident.

We stalked up and took the gatehouse with a Handstrike. Then we fought the Hunters. Countless runners also ran aground. Fortunately we had enough ammunition. Then we fought the tank. Jim and I fired at it with our PVG 90 while Amelie fired at it with her Bazooka. After an endlessly long fight, it exploded and collapsed. Bjorn had made a kind of EMP bomb from car batteries. When it was thrown, the robot was paralyzed for a few seconds.

We carefully left our hiding place and looted the robots. The tank was full of ammunition. We also found the coveted key cards. Then we broke into the facility. It was guarded by hunters and runners. We destroyed them.

We then entered a large hall. The light turned itself on. There were long, long lines of hunters and runners. It was a veritable company of robots standing there. If they all started moving at once, we’d be finished. At the end of the hall, on a platform in a closed-off area, there was a huge tank. Astonished we walked through the rows of machines. We had never been so close to a tank, except for those we had destroyed, but they were mostly lying on the ground collapsed. We went deeper into the plant. In the command center we found a computer. I had tipped mouse on while I was looking through a stack of paper for important clues. The screen became bright. I could see files that contained various dossiers. One even about the Björntunet Hotel. According to this, the conspirators knew about the group around Anita Sjögren and their whereabouts, and were about to launch a major offensive on the hotel.

We found the fuel tanks. I explored them and opened the manhole . The tanks were full. We attached the mines, bundled some hand grenades together and placed the detonators. We set them and ran out of the plant. In the yard some runners had run up and we had to fight them. Jim and I shot with the PVG 90, a waste of ammunition but time was running out. We had just run into the adjacent forest, when the ground shook under a huge explosion.

Then there was another tremendous explosion. Behind us a huge, fiery mushroom cloud of smoke rose into the sky. The shock wave rushed up and knocked over some trees. We sought cover under a rocky outcrop. When the blast had died down, we climbed back up the slope. The robots in the valley were in a great commotion. They ran around the facility looking for us. We fled deeper into the forest. When we reached the top of the mountain, we stopped. We were all pumped up pretty much. In a wide arc we approached the hotel. The column of smoke was visible from afar.

  1. Day

We discussed together with Elsa Khorsandi what we had seen in the Hellmouth. We expected that the robots would rise up against us. In order to be aware to an offensive, we decided to set up guards and occupy outposts. In the evening, heavy snowfall set in and temperatures dropped to below zero. It was the first snow this year.

  1. Day

We set out on a mission to conquer the lighthouse in Klacksundsfyren. We moved on to the towns of Österhällan and Kopparviken. Here too, people from the hotel moved to outposts.

98 Day

We went to other standby camps and captured several bazookas, a KVM 59 and a KVM 89 machine gun. We also found more AK5 and AK 74 (Kalashnikov) and captured Tärnboda Skans. Also here we set up an outpost.

  1. Day

We learned about further robot activities, we moved around and tried to get ammunition as much as we could. We kept getting into skirmishes. The robots were very aggressive. Some of them fired poison gas, which I registered with concern. We started to expand the barricades around the hotel. Amelie was worried. Everything indicated that a major robot battle was imminent.

  1. Day

We met with Anita Sjögren and the rest of the resistance group at the provisional headquarters, the wine cellar of the Björntunet Hotel. By walkie-talkie, the outposts in Österhällan, Klacksundsfyren, Kopparviken and Tärnboda Skans reported increased robot activity.

Some hunter groups and tanks are on their way to the hotel. They could arrive in a few hours. Runners were also reported from various directions. The fighter pilot Löjtnant Elsa Khorsandi listened attentively. I made the suggestion to order the outposts back to the hotel, to lay a mine-barrier belt around the hotel and to barricade the hotel even further.

Elsa, Jim and I thought of a strategy to position the shooters. I suggested that the rapid fire rifles and submachine guns be placed in the front line, followed by the shotguns and the PVG 90, as a second line of defense. The third line should be KVM59 and KVM89 with the bazookas, with the bazookas acting as artillery.

The front lines were to cover the bazooka gunners to give them time to reload and fire. The bazookas should not fire at the same time but staggered to cover the enemy with continuous fire.

The MG shooters should attack the tanks and destroy the MGS and the control units of the tanks. The PVG90s should then destroy the main control of the tanks unit and optionally give protective fire to the assault rifles and submachine guns. The main objective was to destroy the arm and shoulder MG of the Hunter, the rest was to be done by the assault rifles and the shotguns. The submachine guns were the main target to destroy runners and ticks. It was important to take out the flamethrowers and grenade launchers as early as possible.

We immediately started with the preparations, the men worked feverishly. Jim, Amelie, Akiko and I each had a section to supervise. We told the men and women how and where to place the mines. Gas cylinders and gas canisters were also used. The retreating outposts reported that the attackers were not far from the hotel and that we had to expect a massive attack.

We filled our ammunition bags, loaded our weapons and took position. We formed three battle groups, one was commanded by Löjtnant Elsa Khorsandi, she covered the side entrance and the rear terrace. Jim, the front section of the side entrance and half of the hotel front. I had the front with the main entrance up to Jim’s section. To my right was Amelie about 5 meters away. Behind me a resistance fighter, he had the PVG90 from me, next to him a fighter with a shotgun. Right behind Amelie was the KVM59 MG. Behind it two resistance fighters with our Bazookas. On the right about 5 m from Amelie was Akiko. Between Amelie and Akiko came again two fighters with shotgun and PVG90 and the KVM 59. Two other men with bazookas were standing in the back row. We expected the tanks to attack head-on. I was armed with my G3 and the Kpist submachine gun and my Klaucke. Amelie with her AK 5, her Kpist machine pistol, which she jokingly called her “handbag”, and her Klaucke. In all the weapons we had armor-piercing ammunition. On her belt, Amelie and I had attached some hand grenades. We got our weapons ready to fire, because we could already hear the thundering footsteps of the tanks and the many-voiced, predator roar of approaching hunters. The earth shook under the footsteps of our enemies. A veritable army of robots came towards us. I looked over to Amelie and asked “Ready?” She nodded and I watched the tension in her eyes. Then I threw her a Kiss-hand and a smile. She did the same.

Already we could see the first wave of attack of the runners, which was approaching fast. Behind it came Hunter running, all military versions, not orange.

I shouted "Attention, prepare! When I open fire, fire at will".

I raised my G3 and took aim. I took aim at the first Hunter and opened fire. Then an inferno erupted. The Armageddon began. We fired from all pipes. Many of the attacking robots exploded in the mine belt. Many were destroyed by our concentrated fire. I heard the sound of ricochets, the hissing of grenades from the Bazookas, the hammering of the machine guns, the firecrackers of the PVG90, screamed orders, explosions.

The robots attacked in several waves. The shot down wrecks of the Hunter and Runner piled up. Cumbersome Harvesters cleared aisles for the following robots. I ducked behind the temporary barricade we had built to provide protection for reload the guns. We couldn’t run around and keep moving, as we were standing in front of the hotel in a broad defensive line. I had drawn red lines with spray paint in the snow. They marked the area that you should not leave, otherwise you ran the risk of getting caught in your own fire. I fired at a Hunter, ducked down and reloaded my G3, next to me the KVM59 hammered, I heard a huge explosion, one of the tanks had exploded.

I looked over to Amelie who was fighting doggedly. She had a determined face, her pretty mouth was just a line in it. She fired her AK5, ducked behind the barricade like me, reloaded, jumped up and fired again. I did the same. When the Hunter we were fighting, exploded, we looked at each other briefly, I smiled at her, she smiled back, then we fought on.

On our right flank I could see that some flamethrowers were being fought with massive fire. Another wave of hunters advanced, we let them come within firing distance, then we opened fire. A group of four Hunters entered the area. I could see that one of them was a FNIX Hunter. A hunter of the worst kind. Heavily armored with a Tick tank, grenade launcher and heavy machine gun. The others were all military Hunters, one of them being a flamethrower.

I ordered the PVG90 gunner to take it under fire. I fired a volley at his flamethrower, which crashed to the ground, shortly after that the robot exploded. I then alternately took the FNIX hunter and the military hunter under fire. Amelie fought the other military hunter. Then several things happened at the same time which went on like in slow motion.

A Bazooka rocket whizzed in a flat angle between me and the MG-gunner and hit the military Hunter which exploded. The huge glowing cloud of embers took my sight of the FNIX-Hunter. My G3 was empty and I just reloaded it, the MG beside me fell silent, I could see out of the corner of my eye that a new cartridge belt had to be inserted, because the helper was busy with it.

Amelie was just firing at the FNIX-Hunter and I heard the "click" of her breech when the last bullet left the barrel. A sharply focused, red beam of light came out of the fog mixture, from gunpowder steam, smoke and up swirled snow and pivoted at Amelie. She was changing the magazine of her AK5 and was distracted.

Without thinking I ran off, changed the G3 into my left hand, grabbed the submachine gun hanging on my right side, which fortunately was unlocked, and shot the FNIX-Hunter with both hands. I could see Amelie suddenly being bathed in red light then I jumped. The G3 and the Kpist danced in my hands, I could see the impact of my bullets through the slowly clearing fog. They were all sitting in the finish.

Then I bounced violently against Amelie, who gave a sharp scream. Out of the clearing fog I saw two red flashes flying towards me. I received a mighty blow to the head, the helmet flew away. Almost simultaneously I felt another blow in my left lower abdomen. It felt as if a horse had kicked me with full force. Then I felt that I hit the ground and it got cold. I could still hear shots, screams, a huge explosion. The sounds ebbed away, like someone slowly turning down the volume. It was getting dark. The lights just went out. And then… . . . . . . .I felt nothing. Bottomless nothing.

It gets brigh for a short time I saw Amelie’s face, she said something, or did she scream? Her eyes were wide open in terror, her pretty face distorted into a terrified grimace. She tried to grab my face, but it looked as if she did not dare. Her hand was red, bloodstained. In her face there were also drops of blood. She screamed something again, my head sank to the side and I could see how Akiko fall in the snow out of full run with in terror wide opened eyes. Then the picture became smaller and smaller, as if a television set went out, the picture became smaller and smaller and disappeared, with it the sounds. Then again the nothing.

At some point I had the feeling that I was floating. I had trouble opening my eyes, I saw above me the strained and worried face of Jim. My head was a single, tremendous pain, I couldn’t lift it. An unbearable, stabbing pain radiated from my left side as if a hunter had pierced me with his sword. Neon lights flashed across me. I still saw Amelie’s face distorted to a horrified grimace, eyes widened in terror and filled with tears.

I wanted to say “don’t cry,” but I couldn’t, the lights went out again.

And this time I dived into a deep, black sea deeper and deeper into the bottomless, dark nothingness. Absolute darkness surrounded me, was I now dead, does dying feel like this? I no longer felt anything but nameless, absolute darkness.

Amelie tells:

Amelie fired at the military Hunter, which died in a bright cloud of embers, then she fired at the FNIX Hunter. Suddenly a glaring glowing cloud of embers spread out and took her sight of the FNIX-Hunter. She still heard the "click" of her AK 5 when it was empty. Dust and small stones flew into her face and impaired her vision, she was about to put a new magazine into her AK5 when she saw a big

Shadow on her left side in the corner of her eye racing towards her. She was bathed in a bright red light. Something very heavy, hard rammed her and she fell to the ground. She hit hard, only the helmet prevented her from hitting her head. She tasted the mineral taste of blood in her mouth.

She saw the ground from the frog’s perspective. All around her, shots, screams, explosions, buzzing bullets. She tried to rose herself up, but something heavy was holding her back. She turned around’ to free herself from the ballast. A person lay on top of her.

Had this person knocked her down? Who was that person?

She straightened up a little and could see a bloodstained face, disfigured by a large head wound. The snow turned bright red. The face looked familiar to her.

The uniform, THE UNIFORM!

Amelie got down on her knees, turned the man so that she could see his face, and boundless terror, she was struck by sheer horror like a fist punch. Everything went so slow and sluggish, she looked into the face of Helldiver. On his left vertex a deep furrow was drawn into his scalp and she thought she saw bare, yellowish bones. Blood was just pouring out. Blood gushed from a large hole in his left side in a rhythmic fountain. A big red blood stain had already formed in the snow. She screamed his name loudly, tried to keep the wound in his side closed, tried to close his head wound.

She screamed for Jim. The MG, the PVG90 and the Bazooka gunners advanced and formed a phalanx in front of Helldiver and Amelie. Jim came running, looked briefly, his eyes got bigger and he screamed loud

"AKIKO! MAN DOWN!!! MAN DOWN!!! AKIKO!!"

Amelie saw Helldiver briefly open his eyes and look at her. She screamed his name, tears welled up from her eyes. The horror closed her throat.

Did he die now? Had he been hit so badly? The way he was bleeding he must have been hurt very badly. Where was his helmet?

He lay not far from him in the snow and had a hole as thick as a finger on his left side.

No, Helldiver was not to die, not him, not ever!


#38

Akiko came in a sprint and dropped into the snow. She pushed Amelie aside, looked briefly at Helldiver’s head wound, felt his pulse and reached into the wound in his side. The bleeding stopped.

She gave orders, "Jim, get Gilbert and help carry, He must go to the kitchen. "

Jim gave orders, Löjtnant Elsa Khorsandi took command of the fighters, who now continued to advance and pushed the robots back. Shots and explosions rose to a crescendo. Gilbert, the fat cook with the walrus beard appeared.

Akiko shouted "you in kitchen need lots of hot water, high-proof alcohol and clear the tin table. Need sharp knives. Help Jim to carry Helldiver in kitchen then Jim, run to room, my things bring everything. Get floss in the bathroom.

Gilbert the chef tells:

Gilbert ran nimbly into his kitchen, swept everything off the steel table that wasn’t necessary, quickly washed him off with detergent and alcohol. Almost simultaneously he lit the gas flames on the stove and put several large pots of water on top. He knew what it was all about - he had been in Vietnam when he was young in the Foreign Legion. He picked out his sharpest knives in a flying hurry. He knew they had nothing else. Just as the little Japanese girl had made her instructions, she seemed to know what she was talking about. They came in at the door and heaved the man called Helldiver onto the table. The little Japanese woman had her hands in the man’s wound. The other young woman, the French woman was in tears.

The Japanese woman, Akiko was her name.

"Amalie you put jacket off, Gilbert hot water in sink, Amalie hands wash as hot as you can with soap, rinse with alcohol and set fire to."

Gilbert knew what to do, he poured hot water from one of the kettles into the sink, got the soap from the cupboard and the canister of pure spirit. He ran cold water.

And said, "Mademoiselle, if too hot you can turn here." Amelie dipped her hands in it, pulled her face a little and scrubbed her hands quickly with soap, then poured the spiritus over her hands and set fire to it, then with a clean towel he beat out the flames and wrapped her hands in it to keep them sterile. He had often performed emergency operations on injured comrades and knew what was important - he had been a combat paramedic at the time.

When Akiko called for Amelie, he said, "Allez mademoiselle." (French: Come on)

Amelie ran to Akiko. She said, "You come here, Amelie.

then she squeezed the wound apart. "You see veins I press shut. “You must press shut it now so Helldiver doesn’t lose too much blood. I must sterilize, then I go on.”

Amelie reached into Helldiver’s wound as Akiko took her fingers away, splashing the blood out of the wound in a high arch and into Amelie’s face, she squeezed the veins shut and the bleeding stopped immediately. She felt Helldivers blood pulsating in it.

Gilbert had thrown a whole pack of towels into the boiling water of a kettle. From another kettle he fished a towel, spread it out on the steel table, and fished the knife, fork and spoon out of the kettle with a sausage tongs, also standing in the boiling water.

"Mademoiselle you need belly hooks," said Gilbert.

"Yes, but I have none!"

“I’ll make you some.”

While Akiko washed her hands in the hot water, Gilbert knocked two spoons flat with the butcher’s hammer on the hard edge of the steel table and bent them at right angles. Then he threw them into the boiling hot water. Akiko also flamed her hands and had Gilbert wrap them in hot towels.

"Must remove Helldiver uniform, shirt and trousers."

Gilbert helped him take off his uniform jacket, then he took off his shirt; his boots and trousers. He covered him with boiled towels. Jim appeared with Akiko’s backpack and the dental floss.

"Jim just lay it down and leave, please."

Amelie tells:

Amelie had her hands in Helldiver’s wound and held the torn veins shut. She had got blood splatter from him in her face and she noticed it running down her face. She had to remove her hands briefly as Gilbert pulled off his uniform. Immediately the blood spurted back up. She quickly grabbed them again.

“We need light and a magnifying glass,” cried Akiko. Gilbert immediately ran off and got the things. Akiko searched her backpack and took out a small doctor’s bag. Inside was a blood pressure gauge, a stethoscope, several syringes. She fished the temporary abdominal hooks out of the boiling water. Then she took the dental floss and dipped it into the boiling water as well. Gilbert appeared with a flashlight and a magnifying glass. Amelie trembled, tears running down her face.

"Amalie, you pull yourself together now, must be strong, I need you now. You are calm, yes," Akiko said briskly.

Amelie nodded and fought against the tears that were pressing behind her eyeballs. Akiko placed a large syringe and a thin tube on Helldiver’s stomach, which was covered with towels.

"Gilbert you bring bucket," she shouted. Gilbert ran off immediately and brought the desired one. Then she took the sharp little meat knife and cut the wound in Helldivers belly bigger. She took the syringe and sucked up the blood that was pouring out of the cut. She emptied the syringe into the bucket and continued to suck the wound clean. Then she tied the vein with floss under Amelies fingers

"Amalie, you can let go."

Amelie carefully took her hands away. No more blood spurted.

"You clean the stomach and head wounds with a cloth and iodine."

Amelie did as Akiko told her. She took the iodine tincture. She brushed the iodine around Helldivers belly wound. Then she dabbed the wound on Helldiver’s head clean.

Akiko had Gilbert hold out the magnifying glass and the flashlight and examined the wound. It was gaping and deep. Akiko pressed gently against Helldiver’s head…

"Check to make sure skull not fractured. Seem all right, not soft."

She pulled up Helldiver’s eyelids and took turns shining into his eyes.

"All right, both eyes react the same," she said matter-of-factly sober.

Amelie admired the calmness and level-headedness with which Akiko worked.

"Dab with iodine and adrenaline, then stop bleeding and sterile cloth on wound. I can’t sew now, I have no catgut.

Akiko pointed to the bent spoons and said "you take and put left and right at cut and pull apart.

Akiko showed it to Amelie and Amelie took over the improvised belly hooks.

"You now OP-nurse Amalie," Akiko said and smiled a little.

Amelie smiled back slightly. She pulled at the belly hooks.

“You can pull hard if you want, but it won’t hurt Helldiver. Gilbert, you hold light like this and then magnifying glass when I say,” Gilbert stood ready.

"Now hold lamp I need light here." Akiko showed where Gilbert should shine.

"Now please, magnifying glass," she said. Gilbert held the magnifying glass out to her.

“Sweat please dab Amalie,” Akiko said, and Amelie carefully dabbed the sweat from Akiko’s forehead. She noticed that she herself had beads of sweat on her forehead. Sweat ran down her back. She dabbed the sweat off herself.

Then Akiko examined the wound more closely.

"Is gunshot wound, you can see by the smoke you see here." Akiko pointed to some dark spots.

The bullet had entered Helldiver’s body, tore a gaping wound and ricocheted off the last rib. …which was shattered. The blasted off pieces of bone had literally ripped the spleen into pieces.

Akiko looked very closely. “

The kidneys were not damaged. No perforation of the intestine. Spleen ruptured. Must extirpate. Spleen completely destroyed."

She said in a matter-of-fact and sober tone.

"I must remove the bone fragments or the wound may become infected. Broken pieces of rib must also take out, need bone saw.

"Cover the wound with sterile towels," Akiko said.

Amelie fetched more cloths from the boiling water. Akiko cleaned the wound with boiled water as far as she could. With a small, sharp meat knife, she scraped off the dark spots.

"I must remove all dirt from the wound so that it does not catch fire. I have nothing, no tweezers, no penicillin, no antibiotics, no painkillers, no tools, no catgut for sewing. No stents."

She measured Helldivers Blood Pressure and looked worried. She took his pulse and listened to his chest.

“Helldiver’s low blood pressure, lost too much blood, need blood transfusion, need saline, need blood expanders so I can extend blood. If I can’t get it, I can’t do anything. Helldivers die under my hands. If ligated veins reopen, he bleeds out, he dies. He’s stable for now but won’t last long.”

Akiko sighed. Amelie feel like she was hit at her head. He would die if he did not get these things.

“Akiko that can’t be true, he’s not going to die, Akiko please!” Amelie pleaded.

“Amalie, I can’t guarantee anything, I can done nothing and Helldiver is very badly hurt. The only hospital in Himarvet I worked there several months ago. There vascular surgery all the tools and medicines are there. Someone gotta get.”

Amelie didn’t think long, “

write down what you want me to get or, if you can, paint me the tools you need. I’m going,"

Amelie said determinedly. “Amalie, you can’t go alone, who knows what’s going on in Himarvet, all the robots in an uproar. I’m coming with you.” Akiko said

“Non! You’re not going with me Akiko, if anything happens to you, he won’t have a chance. If something happens to me, then someone else must go.”

Akiko sighed deeply, “Jim being out in the fight can’t reach.”

"Non Akiko, Jim is needed out there, someone has to lead the people, see, the three of us are now out as fighters, and we have the most experience."

“Yes, but we’re destroying a lot. The men are still chasing the remaining robots. You take care of yourself, Amalie. You my sister.”

“Oh, Akiko,” Amelie’s voice quivered, she embraced Akiko

“If I don’t come back, Akiko, you must promise me you’ll tell him I love him. Will you do that, Akiko?”

"Amalie, you will come back. My heart with you. And here."

Akiko took off her necklace, which had a Japanese symbol on it.

"Here, Amalie, because you are my sister, take this, bring good luck. Always brought me luck, and before that, my great-grandfather and father always brought luck when you wear it. Now bring you good luck.

"Amalie’s lips trembled and her eyes filled with tears. She sighed and breathed deeply. Then she embraced Akiko and held her close.

"Thank you Akiko, thank you so much."

She broke away from Akiko and went to her room. She went to get a backpack. Then she went back to the kitchen and Helldivers weapons were still lying in a corner. She took her AK5 and her Klaucke. Then the ammunition bag. She filled the bag with armor-piercing ammunition. She briefly considered taking the submachine gun, but she decided to take the AK 5. She thought I had enough to carry. She removed the riflescope from Helldivers G3, because it was additionally equipped with a sight module, which could see in the x-ray range, in the infrared range and in the residual light range. She put on the parka, put on the helmet. Then she went into the kitchen again.

She looked into the pale face of Helldiver She heard his shallow breathing She bent over and whispered to him "

Accroche-toi, chérie. (french. Hold on, darling).

Then she kissed him on the bloodless lips.

She left the hotel through the lobby where wounded people were sitting or lying. Akiko and Gilbert and some women took care of them. Akiko waved to Amelie. She waved back. Then she stepped out the door. Toward the golf course, she saw fire in the sky. She heard the sounds of fighting, gunfire and explosions. The cold air bit her in the face. It snowed lightly and an icy, sharp, cold north wind drove the small ice crystals into her face like thousands of tiny needles. She checked her weapons again and loaded them through. Then she put on gloves, took the AK 5 in her hands and left the hotel grounds towards Ljuset Kommune. The night was dark and in the distance she heard the noise of the fighting.

In the darkness she saw the lookout tower at Ljuset Commune rising in a shadowy way. The sky was overcast and the night was moonless. She passed the cemetery of the commune. The huts were abandoned and empty.

The snow crunched under her feet, knirk…, knirk…knirk.

Helldiver had always taught her to make as little noise as possible because the robots could hear the slightest noise. She stopped in the shadow of the Meeting Hall and listened intently. In front of her, stood the windswept crosses of the graves of the dead. An owl called near her. Her eyes slowly got used to the dark and she could perceive shadows. They were not robots, but only a fox that ran quickly across the grounds of the commune, stopped and smelled, then ran on.

She grabbed the AK 5 tighter and went on slowly and carefully. Her senses sharpened. Slowly she crossed the terrain always close to the buildings, just as Helldiver had taught her. Her breath stood in white clouds before her mouth.

Suddenly she heard a noise, she pulled up her gun and saw the heat signature of a bird in the scope. She had switched the vision module to infrared. Silently, she entered the porch of a cabin. From the elevated position she scanned the area with the rifle scope. She could see some animals. They stood out against the otherwise dark blue background of the infrared vision. Slowly and securing in all directions she went to the observation tower. Silently she climbed up the stairs. Arrived at the first floor she ducked behind the area, because she didn’t want to give a target for a sniper.

She pushed the AK 5 over the parapet and peered down to Hjimfäll. She could see a harvester and some runners in the field to the east. She set the magnification of the telescope to maximum. Then she swung it around and peered down to Hjimfäll. She could see the barracks in front of Rönnhalla. She turned west to the edge of the village where she could see the wreck of the tank and the military post. She continued to turn towards the Center of the village. Three Hunters patrolled. One was at the police station northwest of the town center and one marched near the military post on the eastern edge of town. She could see the barricades of the military post. The third patrolled the apartment block northwest of the town center.

She decided to go to Rönnhalla and from there to the Center of the village. She would first enter the Rönnhalla barracks and then work her way house by house to the Center of the village. In the streets she had more chance to escape if a hunter was to ambush her. She watched the hospital on the northern edge of the village. She scouted the area thoroughly. This was also something Helldiver had taught her.

"With good reconnaissance, you always stay one step ahead."

She descended the stairs again and continued on her way. She was glad to leave that eerie place behind. She kept to the left and walked down the steep, rocky slope, sparsely wooded. She took the water tower of Himarvet as her destination, which towered high.

The ground was slippery, she climbed slowly, step by step, not to slip, if she stayed lying here with a broken leg, no one could find her and if then it was too late for her, because in this bitter cold night she would freeze to death. It was pitch dark, only the sparse scattered light from the street lights of Himarvet illuminated her surroundings. She could barely make out the trees. Slowly she groped her way forward. After a while she saw the lighting of the barracks of the shelter Rönnhalla in front of her.

She squatted down next to a tree and scanned the area with the infrared sight. She could not see a robot. She slowly sneaked to the edge of the forest, sighted the path leading down to the west end of Himarvet, no robot in sight, then she peered over to the barracks and sprinted off. She quickly slipped into the barrack. She kept on peering, there was nothing to see.

Then she advanced further and reached the first building. She stopped and listened, no suspicious noise. In the distance she heard muffled shots and explosions. The unmistakable sound of the harvester crawling like a crab across the field to the east of her. On silent feet she moved through a narrow street of houses and saw the central square in front of her.

Shops and two pharmacies were grouped around it. She peered with the x-ray vision module, but she couldn’t see any robot. She ran. And running across the square out of the corner of her eye, she saw a movement.

"Damn, a hunter," she thought. And she ran.

The crook must have waited for her. Though she had been so careful and quiet, he must have been lurking in a corner. She saw the drugstore in front of her. She hastily tried the doorknob, the door opened. She slipped into the pharmacy in a flash and closed the door behind her. She ducked behind the counter. She lifted the rifle and looked through the scope, set it to X-ray. She saw Hunter patrolling outside the pharmacy. If the pharmacy didn’t have a back exit, she’d have to get into a firefight with him. She wasn’t happy about that.

She looked around the store, not daring to light her flashlight to avoid giving the robot any additional clues. Maybe he was ordered to join the battle. Sparse light penetrated through the closed shutter. She pulled out the list of medicines and tried to decipher them in the sparse light. In a glass display case behind the counter were some of the listed drugs. The display case was locked. She took out a hairpin, bent it into a lock pick and set about picking the lock. That was something she mastered better than Helldiver. After a little groping and trying around the lock opened with a quiet click.

Silently she took the medicine box and put it into her backpack. She slowly and quietly opened the drawers and pocketed disposable syringes and needles. Ports, cannulas, infusion tubes. Ointments and disinfectant solution. From time to time the robot’s scanner beam diffusely illuminated the business room. She ducked behind the counter and waited. She used the light to read the names of the drugs. She crept into the next room.

Here it was pitch black. The room had only a small skylight. She wrapped the flashlight in her scarf and switched the flashlight on. The dim light would provide enough brightness without attracting the robot’s attention. She saw a desk with a desk lamp and various utensils. On the desk she spread out her map and located her location. She had to walk straight ahead at the back of the pharmacy to get to the hospital. She explored the pharmacy further and rejoiced. She had a back exit. She looked through the x-ray vision module again. She couldn’t see a robot. The Hunter was still patrolling outside the pharmacy.

She carefully pressed the handle of the door. It opened, but creaked softly in the hinges. Amelie immediately stopped the movement. She watched the Hunter, who had probably heard something and was no longer patrolling directly in front of the store, but sideways. Perhaps the thug wanted to keep an eye on both entrances.

Amelie thought. She still had two mines in her ammunition bag. Those things would go off if a robot came near them. They’d make a big enough explosion to rip a hunter apart. She thought about ripping open the door with a creak, throwing the mine out and then using the normal exit through which she had come in. The Rowdy could then deal with the mine.

She got ready, took the mine in her hand and ripped open the back door. She squeaked in her hinges. Amelie threw the mine out into the snow, turned around immediately and spurred to the front entrance. She heard the fast steps of the Hunter, the whirring Djieeep., Djieeep…, Djieeep…, Djieeep…, Djieeep…, of his servo motors, then she slipped out of the door in the hope that her plan would work out. She ran along the row of houses in an easterly direction and heard two short consecutive detonations. "Adieu, salaud" (French: goodbye, bastard) she thought and grinned.

She turned off in a northerly direction and rushed to the next house. She nimbly crept like a cat along the wall of the house through a narrow alley and saw the hospital lying in front of her. In front of the hospital she saw a runner patrolling. Perhaps the explosion had now lured her even more, what was probably on its way. If she shot the runner down now, the explosion would tell them the location. But she had to get him out of the way, because she had to get to the hospital. She reached into her ammunition bag and screwed the silencer onto the AK 5. She scanned the road separating her from the hospital with the scope in infrared and saw another Runner. She would first shoot the one in front of the hospital and then the runner who was further back in the street and who would not pose a threat to her at the moment. However, his explosion would draw the enemy away from the hospital.

She targeted the Runner who was near her. She switched the AK5 on single fire. The AK 5 emitted a silent PFFAAUU, PFAAUU, PFAAUUU and the Runner exploded. She sprinted over to the main portal of the hospital and barricaded herself behind the wall next to the stairs. She took aim at the second Runner further away. PFFAAUU, PFAAUU, PFAAUU, PFFAAUU, PFAAUU whistled the AK 5 quietly and the Runner exploded. She went into the dark entrance and reloaded the AK 5. She reached into her ammunition bag once more and took out the silencer for her Klaucke. She screwed it onto the gun, expecting to see attackers in the hospital.

Slowly she sneaked into the dark entrance. She stopped to let her eyes get used to the darkness. Slowly, outlines began to peel away from the darkness. She peered into the hallway and couldn’t see any tics and the like. Then she scanned the surroundings with the infrared sight. Nothing could be seen. She crept further about 15 m away and could see the dark mouth of the staircase. Carefully she sneaked on.

Suddenly she saw two red spots of light coming towards her. She switched on the flashlight and the two ticks that were speeding towards her were torn out of the darkness by the sharp cone of light. She draw the Klaucke and fired PFFFIIT, PFFFIIT, PFFFIIT, PFFFIIT, PFFFIIT, barked the Klaucke softly and extinguished the two ticks. They must have been sleepers, Amelie thought, because they are not normally recognizable and only activate when they hear a sound or feel slight vibrations from the floor.

Her heart was beating up to her neck and she trembled slightly. She took several deep breaths to calm herself down. Helldiver would have given her a piece of chocolate now. She walked carefully up the stairs. Silently, she sneaked her senses taut like a spring. She crouched down in front of the upper floor and peered only left and right into the passage.

Then she peered and saw a FNIX Runner who had also “slept”. She took up the AK 5 and fired, the Runner didn’t have much of a chance. Although the FNIX - Runners were also pretty tough nuts. She had fired the whole magazine at him. To get to the second floor she had to go further up the stairs. She switched on the flashlight, because the robots on the street couldn’t see her. She quickly reached the second floor. She searched for the vascular surgery Operation Room and reached it.

She carefully opened the door and peered inside. She shone into the room and found another FNIX runner. She slammed the door again and in the corridor some ticks came running again, this time she fought the ticks with the AK 5. She reloaded again and then she opened the door to the OR and jumped aside again. Shots banged and hit the opposite wall. Amelie quickly jumped into the door and fired a volley into the room and immediately jumped aside again. A counter volley came at once. She peered around the corner and saw the Runner standing in the room. He was throwing little sparks. She jumped back into the door and fired another sheaf at the robot. Something exploded. When she jumped to the side, there was no longer a volley, but flickering light. The robot must have been badly damaged. She reloaded again and fired at it again.

The robot finally exploded. She went into the operating room and secured it. Hopefully she had not damaged any important instruments by her shooting. She was lucky. The cupboards with the important things were in the back of the room. She searched the cupboards and drawers. Vein implants, stents, cooker clamps, catgut, suture needles, tweezers, scalpel, various scissors, gowns, gloves and many other tools. Also syringes, needles, Braunülen needles, infusion tubes, blood expanders, saline solution, disinfectants. She packed what she could find and hooked off the items on the list. She loaded the backpack on her back. It was quite heavy, but it had to go. Now she only had to get out of the hospital and to the Björntunet Hotel. She had packed the important things like the blood expanders and the saline solution between the bandages. She also found some medicine like antibiotics and penicillin which she put in the pockets of her parka.

She quickly reached the ground floor again. The weight of the backpack was already noticeable. She had gotten company in the meantime. Three hunters and some runners were cavorting in front of the hospital.

"Merde" (French shit) took it away from her. What do I do now she thought. She could risk a firefight, because she had good cover at the hospital. Then she thought that there had to be a back exit. She went to one of the doors that led from the corridor to the adjacent rooms. Plans were attached to the doors.

“I will probably have to go to the basement,” she thought, because that’s where the plan with the exits in the basement should be.

She walked carefully down the stairs into the darkness. A foul smell that took her breath away struck her. It was the smell of decay. The bodies of dead people who had not been removed since the attack must lie here. She opened her ABC protection bag and pulled out the gas mask. She put it on and checked for leaks by holding her hand on the air inlet. She couldn’t breathe and the mask got sucked in. It was tight. She moved slowly and reached a door. She drew the Klaucke and peered into the room.

She was in the morgue. There were coffins lined up against the wall, some of them open. Dead bodies lay inside. Some were already badly decomposed, white teeth shone out of their torn mouths. She heard the eerie soft snaring and rattling of a tick. Suddenly one of the corpses moved. Amelie was scared to death, a tick crawled out of the coffin. Amelie immediately shot and destroyed it. She breathed intermittently. She shivered slightly. Under the gas mask, she could not breathe easily. Her heart beat wildly and her blood boiled in her veins. She got goose bumps, her neck hair stood up and cold shivers ran down her back. .

She continued to illuminate the room. On the right side were tables with corpses wrapped in cloth. On the bare feet of the dead she could see red corpse marks. Their bellies were bloated beyond recognition by the gases of putrefaction. A drum roll was playing in her head, her nerves stretched to breaking point. A sigh escaped her.

It creeped her out, what a horrible place. She raised the rifle and switched the viewing module to X-ray vision. She could see no Robots. It could of course also be due to the thick concrete ceiling that the X-ray beam did not penetrate too far. She continued to shine and also shone under the tables to detect possible lurking Tics. At the end of the room there was a door. On top of it was the coveted plan She secured herself on all sides her neck hair stood on end as she walked past the coffins. The horror tied up her throat, she had a lump in her throat. She studied the plan at the door and turned around again and again. She had the feeling that she was not alone in the room.

She found that she had to go through two more rooms where the service entrance was. She opened the door and shone a light into the room she saw two red sensors, lifted the Klaucke and fired immediately. The ticks went off in a cloud of embers. She carefully went into the room and secured in all directions. It was also an operating room, probably the pathology. She crossed the room and opened the door.

There was a kind of anteroom on the left side, there were tin cupboard doors, on the right side there were table trolleys similar to those in the morgue. Her pulse raced she was weak in her stomach and she trembled, only now did she notice that her teeth were clanging. It was the horror what hold her in the stranglehold. She peeked again with the x-ray vision module, but couldn’t see anything. Carefully she opened the door, icy cold air blow towards her. She could see the entrance to the service entrance in the diffuse light. There was no robot in sight. She went back again to look at the map to get her bearings.

The way back into the city was cut off to her. She could only go further north. Behind the hospital there was a park that bordered a wooded area. According to the map she could get from there to the ski lift in Hämmarbordana. If she went further west, the church of St. Charlotte would be there and there was a path leading to the Björntunet Hotel. She didn’t know how long she had been walking for. She decided to take the road via the church. If necessary she could serve as a vanishing point. She ran off.


#39

The backpack pulled her quite hard. She disappeared into the darkness of the park. Between the trees she turned around for a moment and peered back to the hospital, then she took off her gas mask. A whole horde was hanging around in front of the hospital. She ran as fast as she could deeper into the forest, then she went west. Again and again she stopped, took a short breather, listened intently and then went on. The ski lift appeared in front of her. She looked around and couldn’t see anything. She crossed the ski slope at a run and reached the forest on the opposite side, then she kept on walking.

A little later, the steeple of St. Charlotte’s church tower rose before her. Through the cemetery she walked to the church and entered the church. She took a breather and calmed down. Then she studied the map. There was still a long way to go to the hotel. She had to walk a long way across open country. She looked around carefully and started walking. Again and again she stopped, crouched down, took a short breather and secured in all directions. With burning lungs and heavy legs she reached the forest. The terrain rose. She walked slowly and deliberately up the mountain, listened again in between and scanned her surroundings with the infrared device.

In the valley near Saint Charlotte she could see a hunter stalking around. He was not walking around as if he was looking for something, but he seemed to be on patrol. He paced the road up and down, his sensors flashing yellow. Carefully, it continued to rise. She saw the observation tower of Ljuset rising before her into the dark night sky. She saw the glow of fire to the east and heard shots and explosions again. Now and then she saw the fire trail of a rocket above the forest. As she passed the graves of Ljuset the moon shone through a gap in the clouds and poured silver light over the scene.

She went on. It had stopped snowing. Her legs ached, despite the effort she was cold. She hardly felt her face anymore. She walked on securing to all sides. Finally she reached the hotel completely exhausted. In front of the hotel lay some bundles wrapped in blankets. Another one had just been carried out. As she came closer she saw that they were the bodies of some fighters. The fright drove to her limbs. She walked down rows and pressed the cloths on her side with the barrel of her rifle. Fortunately Helldiver was not there.

When she entered the lobby of the hotel, she saw Akiko. She jumped up and ran towards Amelie.

“Amalie, you’re back. I was worried. You were gone so long. Take off that heavy backpack.”

Akiko hugged Amelie. Her cheeks burned like fire. Jim came and hugged her, too.

“Gee, Amelie, you’ve got more balls in your pants than any guy here. I’m glad you got back safe.”

Jim looked tired, too. Löjtnant Kohrsandi is still fighting east. But it’s nothing big, there are still a few Runners and Hunters on the way. We got most of it done outside the hotel. Elsa will be back soon. How about a hot cocoa?" Jim asked. Amelie nodded approvingly. Jim filled her a cup and pressed it into her hand. She took it in both hands to warm her fingers.

“What’s about Helldiver?” she asked.

“It goes like this, he has low blood pressure, but I have to have blood or I can’t operate,” Akiko said.

“What’s his blood type?” asked Amelie.

Jim had gone through Helldiver’s uniform jacket and found his vaccination record. …which stated his blood type as O Rh negative. Akiko pulled a face.

"People who know their blood type are not compatible with Helldiver’s blood type. “Many people don’t know their blood type, but I have nothing yet to determine it. Must be the right blood type or Helldiver cannot survive.”

Amelie sighed deep, remembering she had a vaccination card, too. She took off her parka and looked in her uniform jacket. When she opened the vaccination record, her eyes got bigger

“Akiko!" she called.

“I have the same blood type O-Rhesus negative!"

Akiko came in and took her vaccination card…

"Amalie, that’s excellent, you can give Helldiver blood.

"Did you bring the Bedside tests I wrote?"

"You mean those cards with the deepenings in them?" Amelie asked.

"Yes, these exact ones, so I can determine if blood matches. I just need to do a quick Bedside test. Need a drop of blood from you and from Helldiver, you brought cards tests, if you have the same blood type as him, then all is well, then you can donate.

"What are we waiting for?" said Amelie. Akiko took the heavy backpack and went to the kitchen. She took it to the part where the waiters entered to pick up the food for serving. Where Helldiver is, we have cleaned up, is now a sterile area. Here in front is septic area, because of dirty shoes.

She unpacked the backpack and was amazed

"Amalie, you brought everything I wrote down, a miracle, Amalie."

The normally unemotional Japanese girl took Amelie in her arms and squeezed her real tight. She picked out the test cards from the things she had brought. Outside the door of the temporary surgery, she took off her shoes, disinfected her feet with alcohol and went into the room, then came back with one of the cards, with a drop of Helldiver’s blood in each deepening. With a ballpoint pen she wrote his name on the card. She tore the protective foil off another card. With a syringe needle, she pricked Amelie in one of her fingertips and squeezed a drop of blood out over each depression on the card. She swivelled the card a little and watched the drops of blood in the depressions and waited a while. The blood remained liquid in the bowls with A and B, just like in Helldivers card.

“That’s good Amalie!” said Akiko. This is what we’ll do. We have to sterilize ourselves. We have to be very clean, Amalie. We go to showers, strip naked, take hot showers and soap a lot. Then we pour alcohol all over ourselves. Then we put gowns and gloves on, we wrap our feet in hot towels. Jim will open the door and we’ll go into the OR. Towels off our feet, then pour alcohol on them again and then go into the OR. Gotta be as clean as possible. Then you have to give Helldiver blood. I think half liters should be fine. You brought blood expanders and saline, wonderful, helps a lot. Then we’ll operate. Amalie, you have to help. You’re still able, or you’re too tired?" Amelie felt like she had been screwed through the wringer, but she wanted to help. They went into the shower together, undressed, soaped each other and poured the alcohol over each other. They rubbed each other down. Then Akiko first dressed Amelie with the surgical gown and showed her what to do, then Amelie did the same with Akiko. They wrapped her feet in the still hot towels, put on the mouthguard and gloves and laid her hands with the palms of her hands on her stomach. Then Akiko called

"Jim please open the door"

Of the two of them only the eyes were still visible, everything else was masked. Outside the door of the temporary operating room Jim unwrapped the feet of both of them and washed them with alcohol, then both entered the operating room. Amelie had to sit on the table next to Helldiver. Then Akiko punctured her arm vein and did the same to Helldiver. Then she released the clamp that blocked the tube and Amelie’s blood flowed into Helldiver’s body.

“If you’re bad or dizzy, Amalie, say so directly,” Akiko said.

While Amelie sat next to Helldiver and let her blood flow into his veins, Akiko prepared everything for the operation. She boiled the equipment, rejoicing over every part she discovered. Lined up the medications, prepared various syringes.

"Why is Helldiver still unconscious?" asked Amelie.

“Helldiver has received a severe blow to the head from a bullet. He may have a cerebral hemorrhage, but I cannot see because I can’t x-raying Helldiver. Can only guess. I suspect he was knocked unconscious. I’ll start him on narcotics right after the blood transfusion so he won’t wake up during the surgery. I have medications to wake him up later. But better to sleep, body can use all its strength to heal.”

She put the clamp back on the tube and stopped Amelie’s blood flow, then she drained the tube in Helldiver. Finally, she threw it into hot water.

"How are you, Amalie."

“I feel funny, I’m tired, my legs hurt.”

"Need you Amalie, I’m sorry but we both have to go a long way now. "We have to cauterize the veins of spleen and I have to suture. “Then remove the spleen and I must cut strips of skin from Helldiver’s thigh and place it in the scalp. Later scar remain, no hairs there but others can be combed over. I can give you something when you’re tired, i have medicaments, you must assist me, you want Amalie?”

"What else you asking me? Give me something."

Akiko drew a syringe from an ampoule and injected it into Amelie’s arm.

"You will know at once when heart beats fast, you say."

“Amalie, what I do here can put me in jail if it goes wrong, because I’m not a real doctor yet. I’m just a student and I don’t have a license to practice. If I go wrong, I’ll never be a doctor again in my life.”

She made a throwaway gesture

“Akiko, it doesn’t matter, if it weren’t for you, he would die and if it goes wrong, then you have certainly done your best, then it should be like that. I’ll stand trial with you and defend you, otherwise we don’t stand a chance.”

Amelie noticed that her tiredness was waning. Then Akiko got going. She gave Amelie the stethoscope and showed her how to take blood pressure. She placed the Cooker-Clamps and the Vein-Clamps Amelie held the magnifying glass for her. They had belly- hooks that opened themselves. So Amelie Akiko could hold the magnifying glass and illuminate the operating area. On a clothes rack hung the infusion bag with saline solution. Akiko worked very concentrated. Amelie handed her the instruments. Akiko told her.

"Ordinary a Surgery nurse knows what doctors need, but you crash course do really well."

Akiko said in between. She watched Akiko with a device that had two tips, with a bluish arc twitching between them, burning the veins. It smelled like burnt meat. Then Akiko sewed the veins stumps with fine threads. Then Akiko removed piece by piece the destroyed spleen and the remains of the burst rib. Amelie helped her to remove the pieces of tissue with tweezers. Akiko carefully cut with a scalpel and prepared blood vessels free. Amelie sucked the blood with a syringe so that Akiko could have a clear view.

Amelie sucked off the blood with a syringe so that Akiko had a clear view. Amelie could sew fabric, but she had never seen how to sew human tissue.

It was a Sisyphean task. With tweezers, she pulled the bone fragments from the shattered rib out of the wound. The hours crept by. When Akiko had prepared the rest of the rib and removed the broken pieces of the rib, she smoothed and rounded the sharp-edged area. After that, Akiko looked at her work. Amelie measured Helldivers blood pressure again and again.

Akiko said "that good.

Akiko rinsed the wound with the boiled water and sprinkled penicillin powder into it. Then she artfully sewed up the abdominal wall again.

"I can sew fabric," Amelie said.

“Almost the same, if you can sew fabric, than you can sew skin. Look to see what you’ll do next.”

Akiko laughed, and so did Amelie. She put ointment on the wound and bandaged it. Amelie handed Akiko the instruments and the bandages. Then she took the towels from the head wound. Amelie’s eyes fell close again and again. She had been on her feet for 24 hours now. Akiko saw how Amelie struggled with the tiredness and said

“I’ll give you one more, but then It’s enough, you get not more, if you collapse, that’s not good here.”

She pulled on a little syringe and gave it to Amelie. They continued to work, Akiko very concentrated again. She cut a strip of skin from Helldivers thigh. She cut it to fit and began sewing it into the scalp.

“You can sew thighs if you want. I’ll show you.” Said Akiko.

Amelie had Akiko show her what she have to do, and then continued. It was easy for her. It was almost like sewing a pair of pants.

"You show me how to sewing clothes Amalie."

“Of course, when all this is over, you come and visit me in France and I’ll show you how to sew clothes. My mum was a dressmaker herself and has worked for almost all the great Parisian couturiers. Now she’s an assistant manager, but she taught me a lot, especially how to sew.”

They both laughed. Akiko looked at Amelie’s work and gave some more tips. She had artfully sewn this piece of skin onto Helldiver’s head.

"Looks bad now, will look better in a few days, must take good care."

Akiko put another drain in Helldiver’s stomach wound. She pushed a small tube into the belly wound and connected it to an empty water bottle. Bloody liquid ran down the small tube and into the bottle. The morning grey and pale light shone in through the window.

"Blood pressure bad again," Akiko said. He must have a blood preserve."

Amelie pulled up the sleeve of her gown…

"Come on, take all he needs."

“Amalie, you can’t give too much blood, you collapse, you can die if you give too much blood. If you don’t have blood then heart can’t pump and then you die, it’s like bleeding to death.”

“I don’t care, Akiko, take as much as you can be responsible.”

Akiko sighed, but she knew her girlfriend by now. If she wanted something, she could hardly be dissuaded. She put the Braunüle- on Amelie once more and bandaged it back to Helldivers arm. After a while Amelie noticed how dizzy she was getting. Akiko saw this and said,

“now enough Amalie you white as wall. You have to eat well today, lots of meat so that you get protein, then you have blood again, but now it’s finish,”

Akiko said rigorously and disconnected the hose again.

"Can we bring Helldiver to his room now. Blood pressure better, have another bag of expander, if he has, then enough.

She opened the door a crack. Jim’s long-slept face appeared.

"Can bring Helldiver up to room."

Jim organized a few men. A stretcher was brought from the hotel medical room, then four men carefully lifted him onto the stretcher and brought him to a prepared on the ground floor. He was carefully laid on a large bed. Akiko still connected the bag with the blood expander. Then she and Amelie sat down in the lobby of the hotel. They tapped a hot coffee from a waiting pot. Amelie smoked a cigarette, but noticed that she was getting dizzy and put it out immediately. Gilbert came by with a plate of sandwiches. Akiko said to Amelie

"you need to eat, you need to get your strength back."

Amelie took a sandwich and ate it without appetite. She choked it down more, although it tasted very good, but she didn’t feel like it at the moment.


#40
  1. Day

When she came into the room where Helldiver was bedded, she washed her hands in the toilet. She saw herself in the mirror and was startled. Her face looked ghostly, pale and sallow, her cheeks sunken and deep dark rings around her eyes.

A man had brought a tracksuit to her room. A gift from the sports shop on the hotel grounds. She stripped off the gown and slipped into the tracksuit, then pulled a chair towards her and sat down at Helldivers bed. She took his hand and looked at his pale face. His breathing was steady and not so in batches.

She held his hand and felt leaden fatigue descend upon her. The tension gradually dropped away from her and she noticed how weak and shaky she was. Her back hurt. She felt another lump in her throat at the sight of Helldiver but she could not cry. Again and again her eyes fell shut until she finally tilt in front over onto Helldiver’s bed.

Again and again she frightened up to take Helldiver’s blood pressure. Then she clamped off , it must have been around noon, the infusion because the bag had run dry.

Akiko scolded her because she had still not slept properly. They put another small bed for Amelie in the room. Then Akiko came again and ordered Amelie to sleep.

“If you don’t sleep, I’ll come back with a syringe, and then you sleep, understand?”

Amelie couldn’t resist that, by now she knew how resolute Akiko could be. And her girlfriend only wanted the best for her. She lay on the bed and looked over at Helldiver, the man she loved so much. Then her eyes closed and she fell asleep.

At some point she frightened up. It was dark in the room. Through the window there was only a little pale light from one of the lanterns on the hotel grounds. She heard Helldiver breathing by batches. She was dizzy because she was so quickly frightened up from sleeping. Her heart was beating up to her neck. She groped for the light switch on the bedside lamp and snapped it on.

Helldiver lay in bed, his face looking reddened and beads of sweat reside on his forehead. Amelie got up from her bed and went to Helldiver. She grabbed his forehead. He was glowing. She saw that he was trembling slightly. He had a fever was her first thought and took a thermometer from the doctor’s bag that Akiko had left with her in her room. He had a fever of 40°C.

Amelie went into the foyer, which had been converted into an improvised infirmary. Gilbert walked around between the rows of beds and took care of the injured. "Do you know where Akiko is?" she asked her compatriot in French.

Oui, mademoiselle, Akiko has gone to bed. I think she’s in her room, or wait, no she’s in the first aid room, look second door from the left."

Gilbert pointed to a door in the foyer with a little Red Cross sticker on it. Amelie went to the door and knocked. Carefully, she opened the door. Akiko lay on the couch which was next to an examination couch. She slept in her clothes. Amelie approached her and carefully woke her. Akiko came up and asked sleepily

"is something going on with Helldiver?"

"Yes," said Amelie.

“He has such a red face, sweat on his brow, and he shivers a little. I’ve taken his temperature. He’s got a 40°C fever.”

Akiko jumped up, slipped into her shoes. Someone had given her a white coat. She plugged in her stethoscope and said.

"Come!

They went into Helldivers room. He lay twitching in his bed.

“Ohh he’s got the chills, no good,” said Akiko.

She pulled the blanket from Helldiver away and removed the bandage. The wound on Helldiver’s side had turned red and looked threatening. Akiko also looked at his head wound, it looked better.

"Is inflammation, you see, probably something bacterial."

Akiko heard Helldiver’s heart.

"It beats fast."

She felt his pulse racing. She measured his blood pressure.

“It’s elevated, but it’s nothing serious. We cleaned it all up. I didn’t overseen something, or perhaps did I?” Akiko said more to herself.

"Take snow Amalie, wrap it in towels and make cold calf compresses, we have to lower the temperature. I have to think. Be right there, you cool down Helldiver."

Amelie took towels from the improvised O.R. Akiko looked in her doctor’s bag and pulled out a small bottle of a yellowish liquid. Then she searched further and took out a slightly larger bottle of clear liquid. She used a syringe to pull something out of the bottle with the yellowish liquid and then pulled some of the clear liquid into the syringe. She then shook the syringe to mix the liquids.

Then she looked at the antibiotics that were available to her. A broad-spectrum antibiotic and several narrow-spectrum antibiotics. She thought about what her father had always said.

"You gotta get the blood clean if you want to fight infection."

She thought. It could only be a bacterial infection. They were very particular about cleanliness, but even in hospitals it was possible to get infected. Her father had always used a certain mixture of antibiotics. She took the medication and went to the first aid room, she needed rest. She put the medication on the desk in front of her and looked at it. She thought hard and tried to remember her father’s prescription.

It was probably an infection with staph, these bacteria are on human skin and even in the air. We had worked in a kitchen. The kitchen was where they processed meat, among other things. The scales fell from her eyes. It had to be a strain of bacteria that was also found in pigs or beef. These bacteria had probably been in the air of the temporary operating room. She read the package inserts of the medication and had two narrow-spectrum antibiotics targeted at these strains of bacteria.

“I’ll mix them,” she thought.

All she had to do was measure the amount, but she had an idea.

"Gilbert!" she cried out loud. Gilbert stuck his head in the door and asked

"What can I do for you?"

"I need some hot water again, but not so much, a knife, a coffee cup and a plate."

"And then," she pulled the Klaucke out of the holster, pulled out the magazine and squeezed a cartridge out of it.

"You make me bullet out I need the powder. You get the bullet out, but don’t lose the powder.

Gilbert looked irritated, but didn’t ask questions. He had respect for Akiko. The future doctor was very talented, as she had proved. He went into the kitchen, put on some water and threw the plate, cup and knife into the kettle to boil them.

Then he looked for a pair of combination pliers from a toolbox and levered the bullet out of the cartridge. Akiko also went to the operating room.

“Can I see what you’re doing?” Gilbert asked.

Akiko smiled, "Of course you can see. I make medicine for Helldiver. Give the cartridge."

She took the cartridge from Gilbert’s hand and carefully poured the powder from the case. With a hypodermic needle, she scraped out what was left. With a used scalpel, she pushed the powder pile together. Then she divided it into 5 equally sized heaps.

She explained "In a 9mm Parabellum cartridge there are about 4 grains of powder, that is 0.26 grams, I divided into 5 and then there are about 0.05 grams per pile. “Because I don’t have a scale, I have to measure with the size of the piles.”

Gilbert was amazed and said.

“We weighed medicine like this in the Vietnam war because we didn’t have scales, respect Mademoiselle.”

Akiko smiled and began to calculate, then she squeezed some of the pills from the two antibiotics into the coffee cup and stompeled them with the knob of the knife until they were completely powdered, Then she poured the contents of the cup onto the plate, then she took the second antibiotic and did the same. She poured the powdered medicine onto the plate. Then she used a scalpel to form piles of 0.05 grams. Then she counted and pushed the piles together. When she had weighed the amount, she carefully took the piles off the plate with the scalpel and put them into a syringe. Then she added some saline solution with another syringe and dissolved the powder in the syringe.

She put the syringe plunger into the syringe and shook it. Then she squeezed the air out. She went into Helldivers room. Amelie had wrapped snow-filled cloths around Helldiver’s legs and had opened the window. Helldiver was no longer trembling so much and the temperature had dropped to 38°C . She dribbled the liquid from one of the syringes onto the wound she had previously mixed.

"What is that," Amelie asked.

“This is rose oil and Oleum terebinthinae, it’s antibacterial. I believe he has a staph infection. You must drip on again in about an hour like I did.”

Then she injected her drug mix she made from those pills into Helldivers arm vein.

“Amelie, if the fever doesn’t go down, you have to watch it and say, 'Okay.”

"Yes," said Amelie, nodding.

Akiko left again and wished her a good night. Amelie closed the window and took the calf packs from Helldivers calves. She took the towels into the kitchen and put them in the dirty laundry. Then she sat back down at Helldivers bed and held his hand. She felt his pulse. It had calmed down. His breathing was more normal, too. She looked at Helldiver’s face.

There he lays, lying shot, badly hurt. He had always looked after her and protected her and now he was lying there and Amelie didn’t know if he would ever be able to leave the hospital bed again. She was desperate to do nothing but sit there and hold his hand. She struggled against the tears.

She cooled his forehead from time to time, drizzled the rose oil on his wound from time to time and held his hand. The hours crept by. Akiko came after midnight and looked at Helldiver. His facial features seemed relaxed, he breathed calmly and evenly and he did not sweat any more. The wound didn’t look so red any more either. She injected some more of the antibiotic. It seemed to be working well. Amelie sat down at Helldivers bed again when Akiko had left. The hours crept slowly, and as the morning dawned, Amelie sank on Helldivers bed, overcome by tiredness.

  1. Day

She lay with her head next to his legs. She didn’t even notice when Akiko looked at her again in the morning and covered her with a blanket. In the late morning she woke up. Everything just hurt her. She rose up, silent groaning. She looked at Helldivers face, it looked much better.

She drizzled rose oil on his wounds once more. Which had also taken on a rosy color. There was a soft knock at the door. Amelie opened and Akiko stood in the doorway with Jim. She looked at Helldiver, measured his blood pressure, listened to him, felt his pulse and examined his wounds. She was very pleased with the results.

“You must eat, Amalie. You haven’t eaten right in almost three days.” I’ll tell Gilbert to cook something for you."

Amelie thanked Jim and Akiko. After they left, she went into the bathroom and looked at her pale face in the mirror. She pinched her cheeks to get a little color in her face. She looked haggardly, hollow-cheeked. She washed her face and hands, then sat back down at Helldivers bed, stroked his arm a little and held his hand.

There was a soft knocking again. Gilbert stood in the doorway,

"Bonjour Mademoiselle Amelie," he said.

"I have prepared a delicious meal for you. Please come and have some food. I have a table prepared for you in the dining room."

She agreed, no doubt Akiko had a hand in it. Gilbert had really gone to a lot of trouble. The table was beautifully set with fine china, crystal glasses and silver cutlery. She noticed that Gilbert wore a chef’s outfit with a real chef’s hat. “We’ll be ready in a moment.”

He disappeared into the kitchen for a moment and came back with a golden bottle.

"Before a good meal, a good aperitif is a must. I have here a superb French champagne, a gold edition of Moet & Chandon."

Before Amelie could say anything, he’d filled her a champagne glass. He also poured himself a sip and toasted with Amelie

"Sante, Mademoiselle Amelie, on Helldiver and on you."

She took a little sip. The champagne tasted delicious and she felt the blood rise to her face a little. She took another sip.

"Ready?" Gilbert asked

"Ready," Amelie replied smiling. Gilbert snapped his finger and shouted

"Garçon, s’il vous plaît. (french waiter please)

A waiter in a cut appeared with a silver tray and a silver tureen.

"A fine meat soup prepared fresh for you today," Gilbert announced.

The waiter served perfectly and tied a cloth napkin around her. Slowly, Amelie spooned the delicious soup, which she warmed from the inside out. She now realized how hungry she was. When she had emptied the bowl, the waiter reappeared and cleared the table, pouring a little more champagne. She drank a little more, she noticed that the champagne went to her head.

The waiter came again with a silver tray on it stood a plate with a silver bonnet. Gilbert came after him. When the waiter put the plate down gracefully in front of Amelie, Gilbert removed the silver bonnet with a sweeping movement. On the plate were two nicely roasted pieces of meat and some vegetables stylishly arranged. She had never eaten in a star restaurant before. She was impressed how the food was presented.

Gilbert said "an entrecôte double of Angus beef, the finest meat with very tender vegetables I roasted it medium rare for you myself."

She cut the meat and ate a piece. It was exquisite, buttersoft, juicy with a delicate taste and subtly seasoned.

Gilbert looked at her expectantly,

"Superb, Gilbert," she said, lifting the champagne glass.

She got really hungry. The vegetables tasted great, and after months of canned food it was a real feast. She had already been to an upscale restaurant with her parents. But after such a long time this was something special.

"Mademoiselle Akiko told me that you have to eat meat, and I should make sure you eat it all. If you eat up, I have a little surprise for you," said Gilbert.

Amelie had to laugh. She emptyed her plate well behaved.

Gilbert cleared the plate. Then Akiko appeared. She laughed and said

"You look much better Amalie, you got color in your face again."

“That’s just the champagne,” said Amelie.

"Ahhh, that good medicine some color I can use too."

Gilbert appeared again with the champagne bottle and poured a glass for Akiko.

"A votre santé, mesdames (French: very well for the ladies) Akiko laughed and they clinked their glasses. She took a sip.

“Hmmm is good.” A short time later, the color returned to Akiko’s face.

"Is medicine really ha ha ha," Akiko laughed, and when Gilbert gave her a refill, she said

“Not so much. I’ll be drunk in a minute.”

She laughed heartily, Akiko was good at that when she was amused about something. Then Gilbert said

“and now, the little surprise of course for Mademoiselle Akiko too. Garçon, s’il vous plaît.”

The waiter appeared again with a silver tray on which were two bowls of cut crystal glass.

"Voila, the finest chocolate mousse, exquisitely prepared for you this morning by myself," said Gilbert, while the waiter served dessert with dignity.

The mousse was really delicious, finely foamed and creamy. Amelie knew how much work it was to prepare an exquisite mousse. Akiko’s face glowed a little. She enjoyed the mousse as well. When she had emptied the bowl, Amelie sank back into her chair, put one hand on her belly and breathed out.

"Mon Dieu, I am full." Gilbert reappeared and said,

“when you’re full, you need something for digestion.”

He disappeared for a moment and took the bowls with him. Then he came back with three brandy glasses and a bottle. He artistically poured the girls a cognac.

"A very special cognac from Champagne with a delicate taste and a mild throat. A votre santé, mesdames." (French. Very well to the ladies)

He raised his glass and all three drank. The cognac tasted delicious to Amelie. Normally she didn’t drink anything high-proof, but this cognac really tasted good, so Gilbert hadn’t exaggerated. He ran down her throat like a gentle fire. Amelie noticed that she was getting a little drowsy.

"I think I need to lie down for a while. Make some beauty sleep."

Akiko laughed again,

“yeah, that’s good, if Helldiver wake up and see you like this, faint again, hahahah.”

Amelie also had to laugh, her girlfriend was usually so sober and matter-of-fact but now and then she brought a good joke and laughed heartily.

"Merci Gilbert," Amelie thanked him.

"Avec plaisir" (French for "with pleasure") replied Gilbert.

“I’m delighted that the ladies enjoyed my humble cuisine.”

Amelie went back to Helldivers room. Akiko also took another quick look and said, “That’s fine. I think he’s out of the woods.”

Akiko gave him another infusion with saline solution.

"He must drink. If its empty, you can take it away."

Amelie lay down on her bed. She felt like she’d been hit in the head with a hammer, so tired all of a sudden. Outside, the sky was gray and cloudy. Amelie closed her eyes, then sank into a deep sleep.

She woke up suddenly, it was cold in the room and outside there was a terrible snowstorm. She went to the window and couldn’t see far, so strong was the mist of blowing snowflakes. She could hear them ticking against the windows. The storm howled and roared around the hotel. She came to Helldivers bed. She felt his forehead feel cool. His hands were also cool, almost cold. She felt his pulse. It was slow and steady.

“I must keep him warm or he’ll catch pneumonia.”

she thought. She could not sleep. She pulled the blanket off her bed and covered it over Helldiver. Then she took the cassette radio that stood on the small table and put one of Helldiver’s cassettes inside. It was the one with the oldies. She started the tape and turned the music down,

“perhaps he will hear them and find his way back,” Amelie thought. She didn’t dare to slip under Helldivers blanket because she didn’t want to hurt him. So she just slipped under her blanket. She carefully pulled Helldiver’s left hand underneath it and gently wrapped it around him. Then she lay down beside him. She didn’t have much room and wasn’t very comfortable, but that didn’t bother her. The beds in the bunkers hadn’t been any better either.

She rested her head on her elbow and watched his sleeping face in the dim light of the bedside lamp. The radio was playing "Stand by Me, "by Ben E. King. She looked at his closed eyes, which could look stern and radiate warmth. She saw his angular features, his slightly open, narrow-lipped mouth. The narrow nose in his face. His skin was more porous on the face than hers. His three-day beard sprouted on his cheeks. He had dark hair with a red tinge that shimmered when the sun shone on it. She gently touched his cheek with her fingertips and stroked it gently. He had once asked her if it would not hurt her if she cuddled her face to his three day beard.

"Must be like sandpaper?"

She just laughed. It felt so good to feel his beard and his hard body. She felt so safe in his strong arms. Whenever she could cuddle up to him in bed and wrap his arm around her, it was a feeling of total security.

The radio played “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. A beautiful oldie. Pictures passed her mind’s eye. That was the melody she had danced to in the Vesslan Bunker. When Thort had smiled at her and pointed his thumb up. At that time she had the feeling that he looked at her in love. She got goose bumps thinking about how he had held her. Then the first kiss she had given him in the Minken Bunker. He was so innocent, so pure. He didn’t know what she wanted from him. His smile when she took him by the hand on her marches through the nature of Sweden. The moment when she had sat with him on the balcony by the sea in Salthamm. She had been sad, afraid. He had fed her with apple pieces and chocolate and had simply listened to her, had spoken to her normally.

"At eye level," he had called it. How he had thrown himself over her and covered her with his body due to she had not thrown the grenade far enough. And when he had taken care of her knee and her feet, even though he himself had been injured. Some tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Oh Helldiver, come back, please, I need you. I love you so, please come back," she murmured softly.

She woke up suddenly, it was cold in the room and outside there was a terrible snowstorm. She went to the window and couldn’t see far, so strong was the mist of blowing snowflakes. She could hear them ticking against the windows. The storm howled and roared around the hotel. She came to Helldivers bed. She felt his forehead feel cool. His hands were also cool, almost cold. She felt his pulse. It was slow and steady.

“I must keep him warm or he’ll catch pneumonia.”

she thought. She could not sleep. She pulled the blanket off her bed and covered it over Helldiver. Then she took the cassette radio that stood on the small table and put one of Helldiver’s cassettes inside. It was the one with the oldies. She started the tape and turned the music down,

“perhaps he will hear them and find his way back,” Amelie thought. She didn’t dare to slip under Helldivers blanket because she didn’t want to hurt him. So she just slipped under her blanket. She carefully pulled Helldiver’s left hand underneath it and gently wrapped it around him. Then she lay down beside him. She didn’t have much room and wasn’t very comfortable, but that didn’t bother her. The beds in the bunkers hadn’t been any better either.

She rested her head on her elbow and watched his sleeping face in the dim light of the bedside lamp. The radio was playing "Stand by Me, "by Ben E. King. She looked at his closed eyes, which could look stern and radiate warmth. She saw his angular features, his slightly open, narrow-lipped mouth. The narrow nose in his face. His skin was more porous on the face than hers. His three-day beard sprouted on his cheeks. He had dark hair with a red tinge that shimmered when the sun shone on it. She gently touched his cheek with her fingertips and stroked it gently. He had once asked her if it would not hurt her if she cuddled her face to his three day beard.

"Must be like sandpaper?"

She just laughed. It felt so good to feel his beard and his hard body. She felt so safe in his strong arms. Whenever she could cuddle up to him in bed and wrap his arm around her, it was a feeling of total security.

The radio played “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. A beautiful oldie. Pictures passed her mind’s eye. That was the melody she had danced to in the Vesslan Bunker. When Thort had smiled at her and pointed his thumb up. At that time she had the feeling that he looked at her in love. She got goose bumps thinking about how he had held her. Then the first kiss she had given him in the Minken Bunker. He was so innocent, so unadulterated. He didn’t know what she wanted from him. His smile when she took him by the hand on her marches through the nature of Sweden. The moment when she had sat with him on the balcony by the sea in Salthamm. She had been sad, afraid. He had fed her with apple pieces and chocolate and had simply listened to her, had spoken to her normally.

"At eye level," he had called it. How he had thrown himself over her and covered her with his body due to she had not thrown the grenade far enough. And when he had taken care of her knee and her feet, even though he himself had been injured. Some tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Oh Helldiver, come back, please, I need you. I love you so, please come back," she murmured softly.